Sir Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart - Photographed by Tom Bunning

Award-winning actor, and famed Star Trek captain, Sir Patrick Stewart, OBE, has become the latest to endorse broader cannabis legislation, particularly in the United Kingdom.

Siting his own use of topicals and edibles, and speaking to Express, Stewart compared the restrictive nature of medical cannabis access in Great Britain, to that of the United States, which itself suffers from a system that varies without consistency from state to state.

“I have arthritis in both my hands and thumb joints and have been prescribed various drugs, including a [ointment] which didn’t do much. The moment I started using cannabis-based cream it worked and I could feel an immediate reduction in discomfort.”

Under the current legislation in place, introduced last November, cannabis can be prescribed in extreme cases, such as life-threatening epilepsy, however, when it comes to Stewart’s arthritis, doctors have their hands tied.

Experts say this is because specialists face almost insurmountable bureaucratic hurdles, including getting a senior medical countersignature on prescriptions and overcoming complex importation rules.

“I have been given steroid injections for the pain in the UK. Last year I had eight injections into my fingers and knuckles which is about as painful as anything one can imagine.”

“I have never experienced anything like it.”

Stewart, 79, whose acclaimed career has included leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the X-Men movie franchise, is coming off of wrapping the first season of Star Trek: Picard, which sees him returning as the titular character. While living in California, he was prescribed medical cannabis to treat the pain associated with arthritis in his hands.

Sir Patrick Stewart

“It seems perverse that opioid prescriptions are still at such high levels when medical cannabis could be a much safer and more cost-effective alternative.”

Stewart’s comments come as a new poll in the UK shows that one in three doctors support medical cannabis being prioritized as an alternative to pharmaceutically prescribed opioid-based medicines.

With around 30 countries across the planet have already greenlit medicinal cannabis use, with an even further handful allowing for its recreational use as well, one can only hope that the UK will decide to boldly go where many other countries have already gone before.