- Clinics providing cannabinoid-based medications will open in the UK later this year
- They will be the first in the UK, expanding options for patients desperate to get medical cannabis prescriptions
- Only 4 patients in the UK have been granted private prescriptions in the UK, costing tens of thousands per yer
- Professor Mike Barnes will serve as the Clinical Director
- The first clinic will open in Manchester
Multinational cannabis firm European Cannabis Holdings (ECH) has announced its plans to open ‘The Medical Cannabis Clinics’ (MCC) in the UK.
The clinics, to open in the spring, will be the first in the UK to specialise in providing medical cannabis prescriptions.
Currently, only a handful of patients suffering from drug-resistant childhood epilepsy have been given prescriptions for cannabinoid-based medications.
MCC will offer medical cannabis to a wider range of patients, from those suffering neurological conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, to those suffering from chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and nerve conditions. Mental health conditions, including PTSD, anxiety and depression will also be covered by MCC.
Manchester will be home to the first Medical Cannabis Clinic, with The Beeches Consulting Centre being announced as ECH’s flagship clinic.
Dr. David McDowell, the Consultant who granted the first legal prescription for medical cannabis in December, will lead the new Manchester center.
More clinics are expected to open across London and in Birmingham later in the spring.
Despite cannabis being rescheduled in November last year, paving the way for it to be legally prescribed, patients are finding it difficult to attain a legal prescription.
Many are reporting issues with trying to find an NHS Trust Medical Director and a specialist doctor to sign off on a prescription.
Even when patients are able to find a medical specialist to prescribe medical cannabis, they are faced with the prospect of paying tens of thousands per year if they want to legally access medical cannabis.
So far, only four patients have managed to acquire a private prescription, each costing up to £10,000s per year.
Professor Mike Barnes, a consultant neurologist who featured in the British medical cannabis documentary “A Rose By Any Other Name” will serve as the Clinical Director of the Clinics.
Professor Barnes was part of The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which recommended the UK reschedule cannabis, helping pave the way for legal medical cannabis in the UK.
Professor Barnes was also responsible for helping Alfie Dingley get the UK’s first private medicinal cannabis prescription.
Professor Barnes commented in a press release on the MCC announcement:
“These clinics represent a much-needed framework to enable access to treatments for a range of serious illnesses and bring the UK into line with other countries when it comes to pain management.
“The hope is that over time patients all around the country will have access to the relief that they are looking for.”
“These clinics represent a much-needed framework to enable access to treatments for a range of serious illnesses, and bring the UK into line with other countries when it comes to pain management.”
– Professor Mike Barnes, Clinical Director of The Medical Cannabis Clinics
Hannah Simon, COO of ECH, added:
“We are delighted to be supporting the establishment of the Medical Cannabis Clinics in the UK.
“The legalisation of prescription cannabis has given people with chronic illnesses hope; the next step is to ensure the availability of medical cannabis to offer those without other alternatives the treatment they need.”
The announcement that medical cannabis clinics are opening in the UK offers hope that there has been a significant change in the way cannabis is viewed by the British medical industry.
However, the fact that patients may have to pay £10,000s just to legally access medical cannabis is of some concern, especially as you can make medical cannabis oils and tinctures safely at home for hundreds rather than hundreds of thousands.
Hopefully, we will see cannabinoid-based medications offered on the NHS in the coming years, allowing patients who cannot afford costly private prescriptions the same dignity as those who can.
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