Doctors in the UK will be able to prescribe medical cannabis from next month onwards, the home secretary has announced.
Amid increasing pressure from activists to allow citizens to use marijuana to treat a variety of diseases and illnesses, the UK government has finally conceded that marijuana-based products do have health benefits.
Theguardian.com reports: The changes come after a series of high-profile cases involving children being denied access to cannabis oil to control epileptic seizures. The cases include those of Billy Caldwell, 12, and Alfie Dingley, six, who have forms of intractable epilepsy, also known as refractory epilepsy, that appear to be eased by the use of cannabis oil.
In a written statement to parliament, Javid said: “I have been clear that my intention was always to ensure that patients have access to the most appropriate course of medical treatment.
“I stressed the importance of acting swiftly to ensure that where medically appropriate, these products could be available to be prescribed to patients.”
He added: “I have been consistently clear that I have no intention of legalising the recreational use of cannabis. To take account of the particular risk of misuse of cannabis by smoking and the operational impacts on enforcement agencies, the 2018 regulations continue to prohibit smoking of cannabis, including of cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans.”
The regulations allow three access routes for the order, supply and use of cannabis-derived products by patients: a special medicinal product for use in accordance with a prescription or direction of a doctor, an investigational medicinal product without marketing authorisation for use in a clinical trial, or a medicinal product with a marketing authorisation.
Home Office officials are still in discussions with the Department of Health in Northern Ireland over the changes.
Cannabis has been classed as a schedule 1 drug, meaning it is thought to have no therapeutic value and cannot be lawfully possessed or prescribed. It may be used for the purposes of research, but a Home Office licence is required.
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