Yorkshire woman with functional neurological disorder ditches wheelchair for rollerskates
Jane Hinchcliffe, 44, struggled with chronic pain from an early age which led to a prescription of codeine at the age of 15. After a series of misdiagnoses, Jane was eventually told she had a functional neurological disorder (FND) in 2021 which caused her intense pain and muscle spasms.
The disorder affects how the brain receives and sends information to the rest of the body and symptoms can include loss of motor control, sensory issues and attacks or seizures. After a bike accident in 2014, Jane's previously active lifestyle took a hit - leaving her couchbound and using a wheelchair.
With the long list of pharmaceutical drugs not working and causing her significant side effects which led to her body weight doubling - from 9 stone to 18 stone in just a year - Jane was desperate to try something new. She decided to try a slice of medical cannabis cake at a festival which left her "astonished" at how effective it was for her pain.
Jane then researched the idea of a medicinal cannabis prescription. She discovered Lyphe Clinic where, after running through her medical history, doctors were able to legally prescribe medical cannabis as a treatment.
Jane, who now runs her own business selling legal CBD, from Hull, said: "It's brilliant that I don't need the wheelchair anymore, people just ignored me before. Thanks to cannabis I'm able to manage my pain effectively.
"But it's taken years to totally remove the pain. Beforehand, I had to keep going back to the doctors for more pain relief but ultimately it was all damaging my body.
"Medication made me really hungry all the time and I went from 9st (126lbs) to 18st (252lbs). Once I found Lyphe Clinic I called them up and booked an appointment. It only took 15 days from that call to having the medicinal cannabis prescription in my hand. These days, I've taken up rollerskating, something I thought would never be possible, and my wheelchair lives in the shed."
Jane went through a 30-year span of misdiagnoses - which included 'growing pains' and 'fibromyalgia' - before finally being diagnosed with FND in 2021. Her active lifestyle - which included running, cycling and walking - was halted when she fell off of her bike in 2014 and cracked her knee, leaving her in a wheelchair.
She was prescribed a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs to control the pain, including opiates, amitriptyline, diazepam, and laxative medication.
She said: "All I did was crack my left knee on the pavement. It seemed to heal well but then got worse and the pain was intense. I wasn't able to run anymore. I used to do that a lot and I had to reduce it."
In 2019, Jane was given a "wake-up call" when attending Green Pride - a festival dedicated to changing the laws around cannabis - in Brighton, East Sussex.
She said: "Having travelled all the way from Hull, I had taken a bottle of morphine with me that I'd been prescribed, saving most of it for the day as I had to travel alone in my wheelchair on the train. Once I had arrived, I decided to try a slice of medical cannabis cake containing a set amount of THC.
"I was astonished to find that I didn't need the morphine I was prescribed as the medical cannabis was incredibly effective for my pain. This was a real wake-up call for me on the positive impact medicinal cannabis can have when taken correctly."
In 2018 the UK Government legalised the use of medicinal cannabis. Expert doctors can legally issue prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines when they agree their patient could benefit from it. After her experience at Green Pride, Jane began to search for alternative medicine. This led her to Lyphe Clinic where she was prescribed medical cannabis as a treatment.
Jane said: "What's important to me now is breaking down the barriers and stigma behind medicinal cannabis to benefit others in dire need and struggling with chronic pain. It's often frowned upon and rarely prescribed by medical professionals.
"Before I found Lyphe Clinic, I confess I felt I was out of options and used to purchase cannabis illegally. This would exacerbate my stress and anxiety levels though, as purchasing this way is dangerous. Having a legal prescription tailored to my exact needs gives me incredible peace of mind as well as pain relief. I am now able to live my life fully again."
Dr. Luisa Searle, Medical Director at Lyphe Clinic, said: "In cases such as Jane's medical cannabis can be used to treat a variety of conditions related to chronic pain and mental health - especially when other medications and treatments have failed.
"My team and I see day in day out what a difference medical cannabis is making to patient's lives - Jane being a prime example. Her story demonstrates the importance of legalising medicinal cannabis and why doctors should look at prescribing this treatment for those who have tried multiple different avenues."