BlogGive the gift of giving this christmas: Medical cannabis friendly charities & organisations

Give the gift of giving this christmas: Medical cannabis friendly charities & organisations

8 min read

Lucy MacKinnon

The spirit of giving and generosity is amplified at Christmas, and often people choose to ask their loved ones or friends to donate to a charitable cause on their behalf as opposed to buying them a gift.

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With social consciousness increasing, traditional materialistic gifts and presents that are sometimes impersonal or unnecessary, are starting to become more of a thing of the past. And recently, charitable donations or ‘paying it forward’, selfless practices seem to be replacing them as a firm festive favourite when it comes to gift giving. 

If the twinkling lights, roaring fires, and sweet scents of cinnamon or hot chocolate have warmed your heart, and you too want to give the gift of giving this December, there are a number of ways your pennies can make a positive difference.

Often people donate to charities and organisations that align with their values because they have been in similar situations themselves, and can empathise or sympathise with those in need. 

So, with this in mind, and Christmas just around the corner, we thought it would be fitting to shine some light on some organisations and charities that offer light to medical cannabis patients in the UK all year round -  just in case you wanted to play Santa this year.

Due diligence when donating

Because a charitable donation can be deeply meaningful, and typically reflects the values and interests of both the giver and receiver, it is important to do your due diligence to ensure your money is going towards its intended purpose. 

In 2019, Global Philanthropy Advisor, Kris Putnam-Walkerly, wrote an article advising people of how to do this, which was then published in Forbes. Here he explains that before making any kind of charitable donation, consider what it is you’re actually trying to accomplish - and how you’d like to achieve this.

Kris advises people to ask themselves what they’d like their contribution to be used for; whether that's funding education or services, raising awareness for certain causes, or invested into funds for conducting research or developing resources. 

Once this is established, research the organisations, charities, causes, or campaigns that align with these aims, or are already conducting work in these areas. 

Read the reviews and online ratings available for their services, review their website and look for evidence of their work on other websites, not just their own. Read any testimonials that are available or perhaps sign up for their newsletter, and if possible attend one of their events or fundraisers to see their work for yourself. 

It is unfortunate that charitable donations do require this type of planning and preparation. Often this paperwork trail or internet deep dives can dampen the Christmas spirit that originally fuelled a person’s decision to donate, but doing so ensures their efforts, and intentions, are not wasted. 

So, to help you do this, we’ve put together a short summary of active, reputable organisations and charities that work within the UK’s medical cannabis landscape, and that are accepting donations to their cause this Christmas. 

The Medcan Family Foundation

The Medcan Family Foundation is a UK based patient organisation, co-founded by Hannah Deacon and Matt Hughes. As parents to children with devastating neurological conditions that have shown groundbreaking responses to cannabis-based medicines, Deacon and Hughes were empowered to set up a support structure for others who may find themselves in similar situations. 

The Medcan Family Foundation collects funds to provide grants to families who are struggling to cover the costs of treatments, or supply them with vouchers to reduce the financial strain in other areas, so their child can access the medicine they need.  

The team also uses funds to advocate for NHS access to these medicines, particularly in paediatrics, and are vocal in their support for a data collection trial that could potentially influence the National Institute of Care Excellence to endorse NHS access. 

To contribute to the work that The Medcan Family Foundation are completing, one-off donations can be made on their website, and monthly and annual donation subscription packages are also available.

Intractable Epilepsy

Like The MedCan Family Foundation, Intractable Epilepsy is an organisation set up by the parents and families of patients whose lives have been revolutionised since they introduced cannabis-based treatments. 

As a UK-based and registered charity, Intractable Epilepsy hold regular fundraisers and events, and have gathered the support of 16 MP’s to further their campaign for wider awareness of cannabis-based medicines, and access to these options on the NHS.

As well as planning, organising, promoting and attending these fundraising events for free, the team of volunteers behind Intractable Epilepsy have also set up a collection to help families with the financial burden that accompanies these treatments.

This extremely worthwhile charity relies on the donations it receives to continue their campaign, and accepts donations online through the Just Giving platform, where users choose to donate once, or set up a monthly donation commitment.  

Drug Science

Drug Science was formed in 2010, by a committee of scientists who felt the pursuit of knowledge should be free from commercial and political interest. Spearheaded by Professor David Nutt, former Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Drug Science provide information and evidence to influence sensible and effective drug law. 

Their work in the world of medical cannabis surrounds contributing to, and presenting, evidence-based information about psychoactive substances and their effect on health, free from influence or bias. 

Home to the largest, and longest, observational medical cannabis study in the UK, Project T21, researchers at Drug Science are gathering research on a daily basis to demonstrate and record the efficacy of medical cannabis on a long list of health conditions. 

By educating policymakers, medical professionals, industry members, and other official authorities or organisations about the efficacy of medicinal cannabis, the laws surrounding its application, and the stigma that stifles its potential; Drug Science are committed to disseminate the misinformation that currently plagues the medical cannabis industry. 

Drug Science accept donations through their community member scheme. On their website, the team explain that by donating to Drug Science monthly, their community members fund some of the most vital work carried out by their team. In return, those who contribute are permitted free entry to all Drug Science events, to see directly where their money is going. 

The Sanskara Platform

Last, but certainly not least, we feel it is important to mention The Sanskara Platform. Comprised of patients, advocates, and activists, The Sanskara Platform offer support and guidance to medical cannabis patients in the UK, or to those considering these options. 

By supplying their users with correct, factual and unbiased information, they equip medical cannabis patients with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions that work best for them, or for their care.  

Passionate advocates for equal access to healthcare and healthcare information, The Sanskara Platform creates educational materials, training resources and informative documents for medical cannabis patients and publish these online for free. 

Here patients can find advice and guidance about becoming a patient, navigating new treatment options, or their legal rights as a patient concerning driving and travelling. 

The platform also has resources for informing public venues, your employer, or your landlord, or housing association, about your status as a medical cannabis patient, and can offer support to patients if they encounter issues in these areas. 

The Sanskara team is very small, and relies on the contributions of their volunteers and donors to continue the important work they do. To donate to The Sanskara Platform this Christmas, or set up a regular donation, head over to their website. 

Conclusion

Charitable donations as presents during the festive period encapsulate the spirit of the season by fostering goodwill and spreading joy - which is then received by not only the cause or charity, but also by the gift-giver, and the gift-recipient. 

Whether your donation goes directly towards funding essential cannabis-based medicines for patients struggling with their cost, or funding education and training for police officers, policymakers, and healthcare providers, or raising awareness of cannabis-based treatments to empower patients and de-stigmatise healthcare; if you choose to donate to one of these causes you will be making a difference. 

Releaf understands that medical cannabis can be life-changing for many people. That's why we offer tailored monthly packages based on your cannabis prescription, specialist consultations for medical cannabis, and a unique medical cannabis card for protection. 

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Authors

Lucy is a dedicated journalist and content writer, passionate about medical cannabis education and advocacy. She became involved in cannabis journalism five years ago and has contributed to publications such as The Cannavist.

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Compliance Director

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research.

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