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26th Jul 2018

Medical cannabis to be available on prescription in United Kingdom

The Home Secretary announced that laws around marijuana-derived medicine would be relaxed

Reuben Pinder

Medical cannabis has been made available on prescription

Doctors will soon be able to prescribe medicine deriving from marijuana after the government announced that laws around it would be relaxed.

Speaking today, the home secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory.

“Following advice from two sets of independent advisors, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products – meaning they will be available on prescription.

“This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need.”

The home secretary added that the move was “in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.”

The drug is currently considered a ‘schedule 1’ drug, meaning it is thought to have no therapeutic benefits. Its schedule 1 status allows it to be used for research with a Home Office license.

However, its therapeutic value is not currently recognised under the law in England and Wales and anybody buying or using it can be arrested or jailed.

But after the government’s official drug advisers and the chief medical officer for England, Sally Davies, separately concluded there was evidence of therapeutic benefit for some conditions, thousands of patients with drug-resistant conditions will now be able to attain cannabis-derived medicine.

The move comes amid mounting pressure for the drug to be made available to those with medical conditions, in the wake of the case of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell, who was granted access to his “life-saving” cannabis oil medicine earlier this year, following an emergency intervention by Javid.