Medical cannabis could be available on prescription to UK patients within a month

  • Medical cannabis could be available on prescription in the UK within a month
  • Cannabinoid medications have previously only been available on a case by case basis, reserved for “exceptional circumstances”
  • Patients will no longer be forced to try other drugs before using cannabinoid treatments

Medical cannabis could be available to patients in the UK ‘within a month’ according to a Government report.

Currently, cannabinoid-based medications have been reserved for those in ‘exceptional circumstances,’ assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The announcement offers hope to the millions of desperate patients who could potentially benefit from medical cannabis. The Home Office is expected to make an announcement over the next few weeks, rescheduling cannabis-based medications, removing THC from Schedule 1 (meaning it has “no medical properties”).

Home Secretary Sajid Javid cannabis
Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, made the announcement that the Government will be easing it’s restrictions on cannabis-based medicines in the summer

This will allow medical cannabis to be prescribed (possibly on the NHS) within a matter of weeks.

‘Priority’ patients, those who suffer with chronic pain, epilepsy, MS and nausea as a result of chemotherapy, will be among the first who will be allowed to be prescribed cannabinoid-based medications.

Figures suggest that there are an estimated 28 million people with chronic pain in the UK, with conditions including multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, fibromyalgia and CPRS.

This is very encouraging progress for thousands of people with MS who have been forced to choose between living with relentless pain and muscle spasm or breaking the law.
– Genevieve Edwards, MS Society

The new measures will bring to the UK a wide range of cannabinoid-based medications, including oral tinctures, balms and capsules.

Range of medical marijuana products
Cannabis will be available in its raw form as well as in extracted products

However, smoking cannabis (combustion, not vaping) will remain prohibited. Raw flower will be available in some forms for those who get relief via vaping.

The decision signals an easing around regulations on cannabis which actively prohibit the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.

Cannabis-based medicines currently require a license, which many patients have found extremely difficult, or impossible, to acquire. In an interview with The Telegraph, Genevieve Edwards, from the MS Society, said:

“This is very encouraging progress for thousands of people with MS who have been forced to choose between living with relentless pain and muscle spasm or breaking the law.”

One of the main developments is the news that patients will no longer need to suffer on traditional, pharmaceutical medications before being recommended for medical cannabis treatments.

Previously, patients had to endure the ordeal of taking pharmaceutical, normally opioid-based, medications, which can be addictive and lead to further symptoms; often leading patients to being prescribed even more medications to deal with the side-effects of the initial prescription.

Discussing the developments, a spokesperson for the Government said:

“We completely sympathise with the families who have been facing desperate situations as they try to find treatment.”

“In July the Home Secretary committed to swift action on behalf of those whose medical conditions could potentially be eased by cannabis-based products and we have announced that cannabis-based products for medicinal use will be available for specialist doctors to prescribe legally from the Autumn.

“In the interim the expert panel will consider applications for these products. Any proposed course of treatment with cannabis-based medicine must be clinically led.’