From Melissa Etheridge to Morgan Freeman, medical cannabis treatments have attracted numerous A-list celebrities who aren’t scared to say what they really think about the plant. Another iconic actor to spill the beans about cannabis use is ex-Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart. During a recent interview with Esquire UK, the 76-year-old, who plays Professor Charles Xavier in the 10th installment of the X-men series, admitted to using cannabis in the form of a topical spray.
“Physical things [make me feel old]. You get to an age where you go to the doctor, you tell him how old you are and he just shrugs his shoulders and says: ‘Oh, is that it?’” said Stewart.
“I mean, my main problem is my hands don’t work very well. But thanks to cannabis they work much better than they used to. Thanks to the law in California now, it’s just a spray that I put on.”
Stewart failed to clarify exactly what condition he was attempting to address with cannabis. But based on his preferred medium of consumption (transdermal via topical spray), it would be possible to conclude that he could be suffering from arthritis, localized pain, inflammation or a skin condition.
Consuming cannabis in this manner, with the exception of transdermal patches, won’t get you high – even if the spray contains THC (the cannabinoid in the plant that is responsible for intense, cerebral effects). This is because such delivery methods only reach CB2 receptors floating around the body; and cannabinoids do not penetrate deep enough to reach the bloodstream. However, this does not mean they are ineffective. An advantage of using cannabis spray is its ability to provide instant relief for the patient.
Stewart does most of his acting in the US, where he regularly makes voice-over cameos in movies and television shows, including Ted 2 (narrator) and Family Guy. Originally, the actor is based in the UK, where medical cannabis is illegal – at least for now. Earlier this year, the country’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) announced a game-changing decision to reclassify CBD as a medicinal ingredient.
“The change really came about with us offering an opinion that CBD is in fact a medicine, and that opinion was based on the fact that we noted that people were making some quite stark claims about serious diseases that could be treated with CBD,”
explained Gerald Heddel, MHRA director of inspection and enforcement.
Getting caught illegally possessing cannabis in the UK is punishable through imprisonment (maximum sentence of five years) and/or a hefty fine. Illegal cultivation, production and possession with the intent to supply are all associated with a maximum sentence of 14 years and/or fines.
In Stewart’s case, he’s fully protected by legal cannabis laws in the US (in states that enforce them). Without taking consumption guidelines into consideration, as long as he’s in the country and holding a valid medical marijuana identification card – for states that require such IDs – or present in a state with recreational cannabis laws, like Washington, Colorado and California, he shouldn’t have any issues with using cannabis topical sprays for his hands.