• Sweden's news in English
Swede who ‘put cannabis in coffee’ on trial for drug abuse
The trial is taking place at Svea hovrätt. File photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Swede who ‘put cannabis in coffee’ on trial for drug abuse

The Local · 26 Mar 2016, 13:17

Published: 26 Mar 2016 13:17 GMT+01:00

Andreas Thörn was initially acquitted of drug offences in August 2015 after successfully arguing that his health was under immediate risk if he did not use cannabis for medicinal purposes. The prosecutor’s appeal then resulted in the new case, which took place on Tuesday at Svea Court of Appeal.

The trial has led to debate over how far an individual person should be able to control his own healthcare and when the state should be allowed to intervene. Pro-cannabis voices have pointed to medical studies that prove the positive effects cannabis can have on symptoms such as pain.

Thörn said that using cannabis also helped him to cope with ‘anxiety and suffering’. The 37 year-old, who broke his neck in a motorcycle accident in 1994, suffers from paralysis and neuropathic pain as well as anxiety and depression.

Having tried a series of strong, side effect-producing prescribed drugs that failed to help adequately with his symptoms, Thörn was left with methadone, an extremely strong morphine-based drug, as his only remaining legal option. Instead, Thörn began to use cannabis by putting a small amount of the drug in his coffee, reports Aftonbladet.

Claes Hultling, spinal injury specialist at the Karolinska Institute and witness at the trial, said at the trial that major scientific evidence-based studies show that barely a fifth of spinal cord patients can be treated with the drugs available today, according to broadcaster SVT.

“Eighty per cent of all nerve pain can not be helped. It's a veritable hell, a life full of difficulties. It's not just about physical troubles, but also the marks left on the soul,” SVT reported Claes Hultling as saying from the witness stand.

It is legal for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers in Sweden to buy the manufactured cannabis preparation Sativex - but its high cost has so far prevented its becoming available for others.

Prosecutor Carin Lantorp said that while she did not doubt Thörn’s description of his symptoms, his case did not represent an emergency use of the drug, reports SVT.

Swedish medical law contains an emergency clause (nödbestämmelsen) accommodating actions that would otherwise be considered illegal.

Thörn’s own lawyer Victor Regnér argued that, had a healthy person endured similar levels of pain, that person would be in acute distress.

Thörn, who will face judgement next week, has called on Justice Minister Morgan Johansson to set up a commission to look into proposals for changing the law, enabling more widespread use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Story continues below…

Should he be found guilty, Thörn is likely to face a fine, with his medical condition preventing him from being given a prison sentence or community service involving physical work.



For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Sweden advised to bring conscription back in 2018
Bringing back the draft could help a stretched military, a government inquiry says. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Young men and women could be made to fill in questionnaires for recruitment to the Armed Forces as early as next year, according to a new proposal.

Nationalists suspend aide after Russia propaganda claim
The suspended aide is a political secretary to SD member of parliament Kent Ekeroth. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

His suspension comes only days after another of the party's political secretaries resigned amid controversy over a property deal in Russia.

Presented by Lernia
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Photo: Lernia

Struggling to learn Swedish? There are a few ways to make it easier. Here are seven tips from the experts.

Here's how much Sweden's highest-earning authors make
It was a good year for the likes of Jonas Jonasson (left) and Camilla Läckberg (right). Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Henrik Montgomery/TT

From Nordic Noir to a hundred-year-old man (and one called Ove), Sweden's authors had a good year in 2015.

Sweden named world's sixth most competitive country
The good news also came with some caveats. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

The country moved up three places in the top ten of the latest edition of the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index.

The Swedish celebs you really should not google
'Oh no, don't tell me I just clicked on THAT link.' Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

These are the world's most dangerous viral Swedish celebrities, according to a new report.

Furious elk mum attacks Swede, breaks his arm
You talkin' to me? Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

It came back and attacked him not once, but twice.

Report: Stockholm is at risk of a housing bubble
Apartments in Stockholm. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Stockholmers are the third most likely to experience a housing bubble in their city, according to an international ranking.

The Local List
Reverse culture shock: the troubles of leaving Sweden
Does it get more Swedish than this? Photo: Emelie Asplund/imagebank.sweden.se

Why is that stranger talking to me in the elevator?!

Police close Facebook thread after call for help derails
A file photo of police cars on Gotland not related to the article. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The Gotland Police Facebook post asking the public for information about an unprovoked attack on two boys had to be closed because the comments section spiraled out of control.

Sponsored Article
Expat finances in Sweden: the Common Reporting Standard
Aliens' sex lives? Why Swedes want Nasa to send a condom into space
Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Analysis & Opinion
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape on migration'
Property of the week: Gotland
Blog updates

27 September

Cutting your nose …. (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Last week, Jeremy Browne, the Special Representative for the City of London, visited Sweden. Jeremy was…" READ »


7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
People-watching: September 21st
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
People-watching: September 14th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
jobs available