|Relaxing with a cuppa has taken on a whole new dimension for members of a city charity, who have spent the past three months testing out CANNABIS TEA.|
Now the Milton Keynes Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Group has given the new product, billed as a 'functional health drink', the unanimous thumbs up.
"It made us feel so much better," said Roz Heredia, who is managing director of the Stacey Bushes-based charity.
"It helped relieve leg pains, muscle spasms and it was wonderful for insomnia....It was so good that we're actually missing it terribly now the trial is over."
The group, which offers massage, reflexology and oxygen chamber treatments for MS sufferers, was asked to supply 13 members to each drink two cans a day of the iced tea.
Called C-Ice, it contains cannabis syrup, water, sugar, lemon and black tea extract. The Swiss manufacturers, Thurella, say the amount of cannabis in each can is below illegal levels and the psychoactive substance - THC - has been removed.
"It doesn't make you feel stoned," said Roz. "But without a doubt it does make you feel better."
She said cannabis has been used by many MS sufferers for years to receive symptoms - one elderly member swears by mixing it with her drinking chocolate while others smoke it or use it as an added herb in food.
"The iced tea is an ideal way of taking it - and it tastes good too."
But the whole experience has left a slightly bitter taste in the mouths of the testers - because many can't afford to buy their own cans of C-Ice now the trial has ended.
The group, which needs to raise tens of thousands for new premises, originally offered to be sole market suppliers for C-Ice in the Milton Keynes area.
But this was rejected and now the product is on sale in health stores generally.
"It sells for between 70p and £1.29 a can.
"That is far too expensive for some of our members who are reliant upon benefits," said Roz.
* Changes to European laws on health claims could mean stiffer controls on the marketing of health drinks, including energy and high caffeine beverages. But
C-Ice, so far, has faced no regulatory controls in the UK.