Adrienne Lynch | 09.01.2021

Richard speaks to Adrienne Lynch. Despite long-term mental health issues and related physical conditions, she was able to come off debilitating prescription medications and go on to live a full, purposeful life, thanks in no small part to cannabis. Twitter: @adriennevlynch

How was your experience of cannabis in Amsterdam when you were in your 20s and had you tried it before that? I went to Amsterdam for the first time by myself when I was 22 and I had experienced cannabis prior to that. I think that was one of my reasons for going to Amsterdam. I just wanted a safe place to go and experience cannabis and Amsterdam seemed like the obvious choice so that’s where I went. I’d only really tried it bits and pieces here as a teenager, y’know.. with your friends or whatever. But (I had) no real understanding of it. And also mixing it with alcohol when you’re a teenager. You just don’t really understand it, you know? So when I went and I sat down and smoked a joint and I ate some space cake and experienced it, I was like: “This might be for me.” I never really felt that with alcohol, but I was like: “This might be for me.” Richard laughs

In your guest piece for The Green Lens, you mentioned how you developed an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia near the end of your teens. How would you explain those conditions to someone who isn’t informed about them? So, an autoimmune disease is your body attacking yourself. It can’t identify healthy cells and it attacks them. I have rheumatoid arthritis, which is inflammation in your joints. So my joints tend to swell up and things like that and there’s a lot of pain. And then with the fibromyalgia you have muscle spasms and you have a lot of pain. I had extreme chronic fatigue as well, but I couldn’t sleep either because I was in so much pain. Those symptoms were all very much of pain and then when I went to the Doctors, they just started to give me other medication to say: “Well this is the pain and this is what’s causing it.”

Which then just led to an onslaught of other issues coming up, you know? Because they didn’t diagnose me until I was 21 with the autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia. So I had about five years of crazy medicine. Prescribed guesswork. Prescribed guesswork basically, yeah. And a lot of them did a lot of damage. I was on steroids for a very long time. They had a slight touch of sleeping tablets at that stage but they didn’t give me sleeping tablets really until I was.. I think I was about 24 or 25. So you went a long time without being able to sleep, really. Yeah, yeah. And at that stage, I didn’t have a clue how to get my hands on cannabis in Ireland. I was living out in Donabate and nobody I knew was selling any or knew anybody to ask. And even asking them would’ve been so taboo and the fear of judgement, you know… So it was just.. You just plod along for so long, you know?

Did you ever find out why you were prescribed twice the recommended dose of sleeping tablets for several years at around that time? No. And I’m still completely fascinated and baffled that Doctors would inform me of this as they’re giving me another prescription for it. Yeah. At this stage, I wasn’t really sleeping because you don’t really sleep with sleeping tablets. So it was years of that. And the Doctor, as he’s writing me my double dosage, he was saying: “This can lead to Parkinson’s and Alzheimers, you know that?” Oh my God. I was like, “Oh, yeah.” And he hands me the prescription and I was like: “That’s it, that’s all you tell me? I’ve been on these for a number of years now. You’re a medical professional.” No matter who you are, you will build a dependency on them, you know? Yeah. So, that was it. It wasn’t even addressed ever again. 

It was just mentioned once, as he prescribed it to you. I actually had to change Doctor. And the next Doctor, she hated prescribing them for me, so she was just always at me. And then I was like, “Why am I taking these and how am I gonna get off them?” Three years back, after a year of gradually weaning yourself off of them, you managed to stop using the prescription medications you’d been prescribed for sleeping, anxiety and depression and replaced them with cannabis. How did cannabis help you to stop using them and how does using it compare to the prescription meds? So, one thing is, prescription meds.. You’re never just on one generally. One leads to another, to another, to another. So when you’re on this mix of things that are supposed to be treating one thing and they’re just stopping your body from doing something that it’s naturally trying to do, that’s what pharma medication generally does.

That leads to other issues, so straight away that’s one thing. Cannabis is one medicine and it treats your body. Now we’ve got all the different cannabinoids within that medicine, which is the part where we’ve got to start educating people, because that’s the medicine part. That’s the part that gives our body that homeostasis. So instead of stopping it from doing something, cannabis enables my body to function to the best of its ability. Yeah. It doesn’t stop it (from) doing any functions. It doesn’t suppress anything. It helps you to do all those functions it needs to do. Now our body should never be stopped from doing anything. It should be assisting it to do things, so that’s for me again a huge change and it really is the best medicine I’ve ever been on.

You said that after years of struggle, cannabis now allows you to eat comfortably, sleep, exercise and leave the house, leading a productive life. Why do you think many people still buy into the lazy stoner stereotype? I mean it’s everywhere, isn’t it? I mean, even down to the stoner movies I love and enjoy. I recently rewatched Pineapple Express. It’s absolutely hilarious. It just perpetuates this idea of an idiot stoner that’s lazy and can’t achieve anything in life. And we all know that’s so far from the truth. I mean, even the guy that wrote that movie is successful and a millionaire and a stoner, you know? So it’s a paradox in itself. But it’s something we do need to challenge. And I think it’s fine having it from a comedic perspective, but when the rest of us are trying to live our lives and we’re fighting against that stigma or that stereotype that’s just so far from the truth. I wake, bake, do thirty minutes of cardio and then thirty minutes of strength training and then thirty minutes of yoga. How is that lazy? It’s the exact opposite of it. And then I go and do a full day’s work. Somebody come at me and tell me smoking makes you lazy, because I’m telling you it just absolutely doesn’t. It gives me the ability to do everything I wanna do and I’m very ambitious and now I’m finally able to fulfil those ambitions and go for what I want. I’m delighted to hear that.

How are you progressing with your course on The Medicinal Uses of THC and CBD, and what have you found most interesting about it? I always knew cannabis is really good for us in the sense of treating pain and treating inflammation. I did not know that our bodies are 100% built to receive this sort of medicine and that it regulates so many other parts of our bodies. The studies and medical research they’re doing at the moment is showing signs for neuropathic protection, so that could be used for protection from Alzheimer’s in times to come. Who knows? If we’re finally allowed to do all the research. Everybody says THC can affect your memory. If it’s used right, if the research is allowed to be done, it can actually be used to protect your neuropathy. And then if you also look at the fact that it can also regulate your pancreas it can possibly also be used in the future to help with diabetes. 

So there’s just so many benefits to it and it’s like the tip of the iceberg we’re at right now. There is such a level left to go and it’s not even just cannabis, there’s a lot of botanical medicines to be researched. Because there’s a lot of plants that have cannabinoids, not just cannabis. Yeah. And everybody thinks: “Oh, botanical medicine is just hippie dippy stuff. There’s a lot of science to it now, it’s not just about loving plants and things like that. There’s really a lot of science. And I’m not for taking away pharma, but I’m about options for people. People need to be informed and know that they have options. Absolutely. 

There’s no point dismissing an entire area of medicine in favour of another, everyone should have a broad range of options. We must have cannabinoid receptors in our bodies for a reason, you would think! I mean we all come from the Earth, so there might be things in the Earth put there for us, you know? If you don’t mind me asking, where are you studying that and how far along are you with that course? It’s just an online course, but it is recognised by CBD CPD [Continual Professional Development], so it’s 15 points for that. I’m doing it in The Centre of Excellence, which is an English company. And the guy who wrote it, the information he is giving around the laws at the start are from an English perspective. But their laws are very similar to ours. After that, he goes into the whole body and the receptors and he breaks down the different cannabinoids and stuff as well. And then the next part I’ll be going into is how they can be used. Like topical use and tinctures and things like that. But it’s a really interesting course, I’d recommend it.

You have told me that you’re also studying to be a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach, and that you hope to incorporate your knowledge of CBD into your coaching. How do you plan to do this? CBD could hugely be incorporated into our nutritional daily benefits. If people were even using CBD oils for cooking with. If they were drinking CBD teas, which are wonderful. Really, really good. There’s lots of different ways you can incorporate it into your nutritional daily intake. So I will be up for that, but I also really want to educate people on how they can use it to manage anxiety and stress, while incorporating it with exercise. Because I really look at everything from a holistic perspective. It’s never just one issue, you have to do everything as a whole. Yeah. So, I really think CBD can be brought into everything. Cannabis can be used, and a lot of people are like: “I don’t wanna smoke”. So then you can use oils or.. nowadays, they have the CBD drinks. I love the Parachute drink. ‘Cause I’m not a drinker but if you wanna sit and be social with somebody there having a can, have a can of Parachute instead, you know? That works for me. Things like that, it’s just small changes but they can make a big difference in a person’s life.

How would you advise our government and the Garda Síochána on the national approach to cannabis, moving forward? It’s obviously a complex issue. They need to have compassion, first and foremost. There’s no compassion right now for people that are suffering from illnesses. People don’t choose to be ill. For me, I’m being forced to break the law, all the time at the moment. And I have a child to think of, and that weighs heavily on me. And I studied law as well, you know? I don’t want to be a criminal, but I’m not willing to take pharmaceutical medication that makes my life unmanageable just because of a law that I don’t believe in. They really have to listen to us. They have to start listening to us and they have to have an open conversation. And I think it’s very dangerous, the misuse of information that they spread. Because it’s so scaremongering and it’s really detrimental to the people who could really benefit from cannabis. 

Do you think that we should gradually progress through legalisation, starting with the medicinal and then aiming for recreational (use)? Or do you think we should try to go straight for full legalisation? What kind of views do you have on that? Part of me thinks, “Just ease our way in” and another part of me is like, “I don’t know if Ireland is like that.” When it came to the gay marriage stuff, it was like: “We’re either going full constitutional or we’re just not doing it.” I feel we need a similar approach with this. It needs to be an all-in approach. We need to go: “We want full change and we want it recognised in our Constitution so that we’re protected, that this is a medicine.” Something along those lines I feel is needed on this. Because I think they’re gonna sit on their hands and they’re gonna keep tryna fob us off with little gestures here and there. Like the thing that they did recently with the Gardaí, saying: “They can use their own personal discretion.” But sure they’ve been doing that for years! And all that does is harm people who are from areas that already get discriminated against. 

Do you think our government is working in any meaningful way at the moment in terms of discussing legalisation and making it a reality for people? I don’t think it’s enough in their view frame at the moment. I think there’s so many other things and people pushing for things that it’s not in their view frame. That’s why we need this to be bigger. We need people coming out. And it’s almost like coming out as: “Hey, I am a smoker! I like THC and CBD and it helps my life.” You have to do that. And I’ve only really started doing it myself publicly within the last six months. I’ve been doing it very much in the background for a long time. But publicly, because it’s a difficult thing when it’s illegal to do, but I really believe in it. So I think if more of us can protect each other and work together, that’s one thing I feel is missing. That sense of community and having each others’ backs. Because it’s so underground. So we need to find a way to come together, I think a little bit like what they did in Spain with the smokers’ clubs. 

That could be an approach we could take, because at least it would be a place for people to go to gather information, where we could build a community that will stand up and say: “This is not okay, we need changes.” I couldn’t agree more. Is there anything else you’d like to touch on? Anything you’d like to say to people who are interested in learning more about cannabis? I would say… Go in slowly to your CBD and THC. Because there’s a lot to learn and there’s a lot of growth to be had in it. And if you go in too fast, you might scare yourself away. If you can talk to people or find people online who have experienced it, it’s always a good thing to talk to other people. And just try and find a decent dealer until we get legalisation, because you’ve gotta be safe out there. You never know what they’re doing with that stuff they sell on the street. With the sprays and everything, you’ve just gotta be really careful. Thank you so much for joining me today. Thanks for having me, take care.

* Adrienne’s autobiographical guest piece, Cannabis Saved My Life, can be read here:

Kenny Tynan | 07.01.2021

Richard speaks to Kenny Tynan – a radio host, DJ, producer, and the host of 1The Cannabis Patient Podcast. Kenny was diagnosed with a grade 2 glioma brain tumour in 2015, resulting in extensive surgeries which meant that he had to re-learn how to use the right side of his body. Kenny sought out cannabis as an alternative means of treating his tumour and its effects. He is keen to continue learning about it as a student while informing people of its many benefits and advocating for its legalisation in Ireland.

Twitter: @KennyTynan

What first got you into music production and DJing? Well, I think it was when I was about ten years of age, I heard me first rave tape that the cousin had in England, y’know? It was of The Utah Saints and I really got into them from that stage onwards. And then around when I was sixteen or so, I got introduced to programmes like eJay and Reason and I’ve been at it ever since then. Would you say that making music has served as a therapy of sorts, in itself? It would indeed, yeah. Because when you’re writing music a lot of the time it’s experimental, until you find that right groove. And then once you find that right groove and (the) right elements, you get into a kind of flow state. And it’s a good way to release ideas and release things out of your head. It can be very refreshing to actually complete a task as well. When you’ve finished a song and you’re proud of how it went and proud of how it came out.

And when did you become interested in cannabis? I was always, since I was a teenager. I used it recreationally, on and off. But it wasn’t until the 2Rick Simpson video came out that… I always thought it was just a drug, until I seen that and it opened me eyes completely to show me that it was a medicine. You stated in episode one of your podcast that cannabis oils “gave you your life back” and that at the time of recording, you’d been a year without seizures. What inspired you to seek out those oils and how was your experience sourcing them? Well, it was a positive side-effect from the oils that I was taking, for treating the tumour. What inspired me to seek it out was the fact that I had the tumour and I didn’t want to take chemotherapy or radiotherapy at the time, so I wanted to try this first, you know? I got them fairly handy in Ireland at first, but they were black market oils. 

I took maybe 24 hours to source them initially in Ireland. But I wasted shitloads of money on subpar medicine. Stuff that still had alcohol in it, you know what I mean? And stuff that hasn’t been made right at all, that hasn’t been extracted right at all like. At one stage there was stuff I got that was like… The only way you could explain it was nearly like putty, you know? Like an ointment? Exactly, and it stank of alcohol, it tasted of alcohol as well. I couldn’t take that at all and that cost me 400 quid, so that was 400 quid down the drain. So, we do need regulation because patients are being ripped off left, right and centre. It’s very hard to find a decent quality medicine, even though there is multiple sources of black market stuff. But it’s very hard to find the right guys.

For those who might not know, how would you describe a glioma brain tumour?   I was first diagnosed with a grade 2. And what it can do is, it can affect your memory, mood, sometimes your balance. Seizures are part and parcel of it, you know? Anxiety as well. You’re not given a very long life expectancy when you’re first diagnosed with a glioma, because at any stage it could turn into a GBM, which is a glioblastoma multiforme. And from that point on, you could have three months to live. At the minute, I’m living three months to three months. My last two scans have shown that it has been reducing, but my next one could say: “It’s gone GBM and you’ve got a couple months left to live”. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.

In 2017, you moved to Spain and you received specialist cannabis treatment for your tumour through the Kalapa clinic in Barcelona. Can you tell us more about that experience? Yeah. I heard Vera Twomey, she got in contact with the Kalapa clinic. And I got the details off her. And I had a session over Skype. And I sent them on me medical files, I got me medical files from Beaumont. And they said “Yeah”, that I’d qualify for it. And they gave me a prescription. It wasn’t an official prescription, because of the legalities of it over there in Spain. But they hooked me up with a cannabis club that was for patients and they had their own laboratory. And they were making the medicine in the laboratory as well.

Could you see the approach of Spanish cannabis clubs working in Ireland? Do you think that system would work well here? Yeah. One of the clubs was patient-led, the other was a kind of a recreational club. But what used to happen in the patient ones was you got your own number and you told them what your medicine was and they grew that amount of plants specifically for that medicine that you need. So, each plant that they had grown for you, they would have a tag on it with your particular number. So if the cops did come and raid them, they would be able to say: “Look, these are all our members here, they’re our patients. These are not my plants, this plant belongs to..” (Let’s say, myself). “Kenny Tynan. And another person.” So, they wouldn’t really be done as such and they couldn’t be prosecuted, you know? 

Yeah, that makes sense because the shares are split up among the community. So there’s a lot of sense in that. What are your feelings on the Medical Cannabis Access Programme? I haven’t seen anything about it. Nothing has happened with it, it’s just been put on pause. I don’t think there’s been one person granted an application under it, as far as I know. The only way that people can get it is through a licence. And that is extremely at fault. I think only about a quarter of the people that have a licence are actually getting reimbursed, so it’s not a great system. I’m one of those people that aren’t getting reimbursed, so I have to make my own medicine now. Were you able to get your costs covered before? Okay. First, I applied to the Primary Care Reimbursement Scheme. And they turned me down after about three months of going forward and back. They turned me down because they says that my epilepsy is treatable. And that my primary condition is a brain tumour and not epilepsy. So that’s why they turned me down for the reimbursement, but I did find another way of getting reimbursed for a while from the Treatment Abroad Scheme. But back in February of last year, they stopped that altogether for medicinal cannabis. And after that then, I applied for the Hardship Scheme. Yeah, the Hardship Scheme. And they says that they wouldn’t cover medical cannabis on that either.

How do you feel about the theory that cannabis serves as a gateway to more illicit substances? I think that’s a very propaganda statement. I think that prohibition is the main gateway to more illicit drugs. People use cannabis to relax, to unwind. The same way that people use wine in the evening, you know? Or a drink, or even cigarettes. At the moment, prohibition means we have to deal with criminal gangs, sometimes. And those people only have profit on their minds. Because of that, not only do they carry cannabis, but sometimes they might have cocaine, or even heroin. At the very least, they will have some sort of benzodiazepines, just to complement their sales. Whereas an Irish grower will charge you cheaper than what you’re getting on the street and you know what is in it. Because any Irish grower I’ve met so far takes great pride in ensuring that their cannabis is organic and pesticide-free. And they only distribute cannabis.

Do you think the Irish government will watch how the British reform their cannabis laws in the short-term, before taking action on ours? Yeah, I think they’re keeping a close eye on it, yeah. I think, regarding our own laws, all that’s standing in our way is a citizens’ assembly. Because the hard evidence is there at the moment to support legislation and regulation. A few of us are involved at the moment in setting up Patients for Safe Access, which will be a platform for advocacy, where patients can join up and put their voice forward. And we’ll be looking at doing events, educational events, training events. Letting people know what medicinal cannabis is. At the minute, we are working with one of the Directors from Patients for Safe Access in America. And we’re working with Martin O’Brien from Foxworthy Farms. He’s the owner of the oldest dispensary in the world. So we have him on board. We’re gonna be launching the website over the next couple of weeks and hopefully it’ll give people so much information. Excellent, sounds great.

Do you think corporate interests will be a driving force behind legislation in Ireland? I think they will try to. Yes, of course there’ll be a certain amount of that. But I think we have the resources here already. With Martin O’Brien, he has (I think) a forty acre farm over in California and he has the know-how for how to grow it over here. There’s so many other people that could get involved in a co-op that could reduce the cost of medicine for all patients, you know? I think we have enough people here that are educated in medicinal cannabis and people that are doing courses in medicinal cannabis like meself that could advise people on cannabis as opposed to blocking up the GPs. We could do one-to-one consultations. Once it’s all streamlined. In my opinion we have to follow the American model of dispensaries and maybe for recreational purposes as well, that we could have certain smoking clubs or social clubs, as such. 

That’s the one thing that’s missing over here, is social clubs. You’d have the image (in your head) that you’d go into the social club in Spain and that it would be everybody just sitting smoking and saying nothing to anybody. But it is quite the opposite. I’ve heard people playing classical music on the piano. And everybody was playing chess one evening and then there was a gaming night the next night. They were teaching English because I was the only English-speaker in the club. Kenny laughs So they kind of took all that on board as well. It’s a great place for learning and chatting as well. Yeah, it’s not all about the weed. It is a community centre of sorts as well. People forget that with some strains, you can be perfectly productive and get things done and that it’s not all just lazy couch potato stuff when people use cannabis. Yeah.

How would you feel about cannabis regulation receiving similar laws to the sale and consumption of alcohol? We need to take it out of the hands of criminal gangs. In my research, I’ve come across a study where it’s shown that teenage use of cannabis can increase the likelihood of depression later on in life by one and a half times. I think that the human brain is still developing till around the age of twenty-one. So, if we can regulate dispensaries and social clubs for over 21s… Dealers don’t ask for ID, they’re only interested in money. If we can put it into the hands of an organisation and take it away from the teenage use, that can only lead to harm reduction. And in time as well, it’ll be looked upon as a kind of a hippie thing to do. Over in Amsterdam, they’re legal maybe thirty or forty years. But the teenagers over there don’t pay any heed on it at all, it’s a hippie thing. That’s stuff for aul fellas, you know? Laughter Yeah, it’s amazing how the perception changes when something is legal.

You recently studied Medicinal Cannabis and the Control of Pain at the Israel Institute of Technology, with hopes of becoming a cannabis consultant. Can you tell us more about the course and how you found it? Well, I completed it and I got 99% in it. Excellent, well done. And I’m now doing a diploma course for medicinal cannabis, which will cover it in a lot more depth. The endocannabinoid system and how oils are made, the chemical makeup, et cetera. And how to prescribe it properly. 

They’re discovering new terpenes the whole time. There’s a lot left to be discovered in the cannabis plant. Yeah. Since I came out (in) public, I have been having people contact me about medicinal cannabis. Almost every day, sometimes several a day. Back a couple of years ago it was several people a day, so it was. And I think that I owe it to them to know what I’m talking about. And not just going on my own experience, but going on scientific facts as well. I think that’s important for the legalisation movement as a whole. That we don’t just present any old thing and that we do have some data and science to back it up.

Have your studies with the Institute changed your own approach to medical cannabis?  Yeah. I learned an awful lot about the dangers, actually. People presume it’s a safe drug, but nothing is ever safe. For example, withdrawals. If a person is being treated for PTSD and stops taking it, he might… His symptoms of PTSD might actually increase during the withdrawal period. It’s not suitable for breastfeeding mothers, or for pregnant women. I’ve learned an awful lot about its affect on your driving as well. So it’s not all positives, you know? Is there anything you found especially interesting about how it affects your driving? Yeah. What I found interesting was that they no longer have to prove that you are in any way inebriated. Once you test positive for cannabis, that’s it, you’re charged. Once you’re over.. I think it’s one ug per mill (microgram per millilitre) of blood.

From my studies, I’ve learned that you’ll feel the effects of smoked cannabis for an hour and twenty minutes to two hours before it starts wearing off, and then it rapidly declines. Whereas ingested cannabis, it takes longer to feel the effects, but it doesn’t wear off as quickly. It wears off over about eight hours. What I’ve learned is that the roadside tests do not prove an inability to drive. As it happens, Nicholas put up an 3article recently on that very subject. And he had come to the same conclusion as yourself, that they don’t have a system of measuring cannabis in your body properly. And because it’s illegal and from the black market, they don’t know anything about its purity or what it’s mixed with. So I think that’s the reason why if it’s even a tiny amount, they fine you and may imprison you for a while for it. 

Yeah. Exactly, yeah. And you could’ve smoked a joint the previous evening and it will stay in your system. It’s just that you won’t have the effects of it. So you could’ve smoked a joint the previous day and get swabbed the following day and you’re not in any way inebriated. Yet you’ll get charged because you weren’t given a roadside test. I think that needs to come into it. Driving on cannabis is dangerous, let’s face it. But we cannot have a system that’s broken like that. I think it’s ridiculous, to be honest. You could’ve had some drinks and been ‘properly’ drunk the night before. Then you could sober up a bit, go out driving the next morning and you’d be okay to drive, according to their test. But if it’s even a miniscule amount of cannabis, that’s it. Yeah.

How has progress been with the booklet you were hoping to publish to help educate Ireland about cannabis? That all ties back in again with the Patients for Safe Access thing. That’s the group that’s actually launching it. So yes, we have got plenty of stories so far from all walks of life. We have such a diverse age group and people from all different types of backgrounds. So we hope to get that published in a couple of months. And in the meantime, we’ll be using them as content for the website and maybe for the social media as well. Excellent. Do you have social media at the moment that you’d like people to look out for, or is that all on the way? It’s on the way.

Is there anything else you’d like to touch on, personally? Will you plug me single? I’ve a new single coming out tomorrow, it’s called Rebel Yell. So, download it on iTunes and listen on Spotify or whatever! Is it by yourself, or someone on your label? Yeah, it’s 4Kenny Tynan – Rebel Yell. Perfect, I’ll plug that for sure! Deadly, thanks a million! Kenny laughs Not a bother, lovely talking to you. Pleasure to meet you. All the best with the patient-led cannabis group, the podcast and all the rest! Thanks Richard, bye.


1 The Cannabis Patient Podcast can be found at this link: 

2 For more information on Rick Simpson and RCO (Rick Simpson Oil), see this article on Wikileaf: 

3 Nicholas’ recent Green Lens post on roadside drug testing can be read here:  

4 Kenny’s new single Rebel Yell is out now on all good music streaming sites: