Friday 27 November, 2020

Medicinal cannabis prescriptions available in UK from November

British patients will be able to access cannabis prescriptions via the UK's National Health Service (NHS) from November 2018.

According to a report by New Scientist, Home Secretary Sajid Javid made the announcement on October 11 saying the rules about circumstances in which cannabis products can be given to patients have been relaxed after considering expert advice. 

The report said patients in England, Wales and Scotland will be able to receive prescriptions via public health centres. Access to health care is free in the UK.

An initial review by chief medical adviser Dame Sally Davies concluded that there is evidence medicinal cannabis has therapeutic benefits.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which carried out the second part of the review, then says doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis provided products meet safety standards.

It recommended cannabis-derived medicinal products should be placed in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. Cannabis has previously been classed as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it is thought to have no therapeutic value but can be used for the purposes of research with a Home Office licence.

The requirements for a cannabis-based product include three parameters, namely that the drug needs to be a 'preparation or product which contained cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol or a cannabinol derivative'.

Secondly, the item must be produced for medicinal use in humans and the item must be a medicinal product or a substance for use in the creation of a medicinal product.

The ACMD will conduct a long-term review of cannabis and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been commissioned to provide advice for clinicians by October next year.


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