Bill Turnbull calls for 'proper conversation' on cannabis laws after smoking drug for new documentary

Bill Turnball has charted his life following his diagnosis in a new documentary. (Channel 4/Pete Dadds).

Bill Turnbull, who last year revealed he was living with advanced prostate cancer, has backed the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

As part of his upcoming documentary on living with the disease, Turnbull samples the plant as he looks at the illegal method which some cancer patients turn to in order to to treat their cancer and associated pains.

Now, he’s said real debate needs to take place surrounding the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes in the UK.

Speaking at a Q&A for the documentary, Turnbull shared with press: "I do think we need to have a proper conversation in this country about the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes because it’s legal to a greater or lesser extent for medicinal purposes in more than 20 countries now, in quite intelligent and advanced companies, and we should be one of them.

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"We have something that’s been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes and has only been illegal for what, about 100 years if I remember correctly. We need to start having conversations about ‘well, how can we usefully get the best out of what could be beneficial to us without causing damage to other people.

Former BBC Breakfast presenter Bill Turnbull.

"I’m not talking about recreational use, I’m talking about let’s have a look at it for medicinal reasons."

The 63-year-old has said he now only takes CBD oil, which is legal in the UK, avoiding THC which is the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

He explained: "I’m still taking CBD, I’ve stopped taking the THC because [Dr] Peter McCormick who we saw there in the film says you have to be careful because if you take too much of the wrong variety that can actually hinder your progress rather than help it.

"I didn’t know what to do with it, so I took a little bit from time to time and it was sort of soothing but if you’re not sure what a medicine is doing for you, you shouldn’t really carry on taking it.

Bill Turnbull tried cannabis for his new documentary. (Channel 4/Pete Dadds).

"If I got to a situation possibly where all else had failed like it did with Deryn [Blackwell], the boy in the film, then I’d probably go for it in a much more concentrated way. It’s such a dark area, or an unlit area, I think, that needs a lot more examination but that’s why I’ve left it for the time being."

Turnbull ingests cannabis in the film via a vape pen which leaves him giggling in front of the camera.

But the father-of-three divulged that he found the moment "embarrassing", although did acknowledge how it could serve a greater purpose.

BBC Breakfast TV presenter and Wycombe Wanderers fan Bill Turnbull looks on prior to the Sky Bet League Two match between Wycombe Wanderers and Northampton Town at Adams Park on October 3, 2015 in High Wycombe, England. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

He explained: "The giggling sequence I was very uncomfortable with.

"I just felt embarrassed about it. I couldn’t believe [the director] did that to me! But I suppose I think if it helps other people in my situation in any respect then it’s worth doing, they might say ‘that’s my story and that’s how I feel and I feel okay with that’ then that’s a good thing."

Bill Turnbull: Staying Alive airs Thursday 24 October on Channel 4 at 10pm.