The use of medical cannabis has been gaining traction in many countries worldwide, including the UK. With the advent of legalisation in the UK, more and more medical cannabis clinics, medical practitioners and public members have begun to consider whether medical cannabis can provide a viable treatment option. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the nuances behind the legality of medical cannabis in the UK.
What does the law currently say about medical cannabis in the UK?
In the UK, cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that it is considered to have no therapeutic value. This means that it is illegal to possess, supply or produce cannabis for medicinal purposes and recreational use.
However, as of 1st November 2018, the Home Office has allowed certain cannabis-based medicinal products, including Sativex, to be legally made available through a doctor’s prescription.
So, what conditions can cannabis-based products be prescribed for?
Currently, the only licensed cannabis-based products (CBPS) that may be prescribed in the UK are Sativex, Epidiolex, Nabilone and Cesamet. These products may be prescribed to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and certain types of epilepsy. However, as more research is conducted and regulatory approval is granted, it is also possible that new uses for these products will be approved.
What challenges exist when it comes to prescribing medical cannabis?
Despite the new legal status of certain cannabis-based products, there are still challenges regarding their recommendation and prescription.
Firstly, it is currently only legal for a small number of specialist doctors to prescribe such products. Only doctors on the General Medical Council Specialist Register can prescribe CBPs for therapeutic use. This means patients must track down and obtain authorisation from such doctors to access the treatment; all of our doctors here at Elios Clinics are authorised to prescribe CBPs, simply fill in our official Elios Clinics’ new patient form, and our trained healthcare professionals will get back to you and arm you with everything that you need so that you receive your prescription every month.
Furthermore, research into the short and long-term benefits and risks of CBPs is still ongoing. As such, many doctors remain uncertain about when, or even if, CBPs should be used.
Are there any other alternatives to medical cannabis in the UK?
Many drug-free treatments can be used to manage the symptoms of many medical conditions. As well as more conventional medications, a wide variety of therapies and support services may help improve one’s quality of life.
Legalising certain cannabis-based products for medicinal use in the UK is a promising development, but there remain enormous challenges when prescribing them. This includes limitations on who is eligible for a prescription and the lack of long-term data on their safety and efficacy.
Whilst cannabis-based products can provide a valuable treatment option in some cases, it is essential to remember that there are other effective alternatives available. If you are considering medical cannabis as a treatment option, discuss it with your doctor and explore all of your avenues.