Home Secretary Sajid Javid has approved medicinal cannabis for rescheduling in Parliament and is expected to make an announcement within the next couple of weeks allowing specialist physicians to prescribe marijuana-derived products to qualifying patients.
The previous policy mandated that cannabis medicine only be allowed for patients with exceptional cases who had been reviewed by experts, but soon individuals living with chronic pain, epilepsy, chemotherapy-related nausea, and multiple sclerosis will be eligible to obtain medical marijuana products by prescription.
There have been efforts in the United Kingdom to change the cannabis laws over the years, but the tipping point came when officials confiscated Billy Caldwell’s live-saving cannabis oil at Heathrow Airport in London in June which sparked a wave of public backlash and an effective campaign by the boy’s mother, Charlotte.
United Kingdom Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies also conducted a review of medicinal cannabis earlier this year and concluded that it should be legal.
“In July the Home Secretary committed to swift action on behalf of those whose medical conditions would potentially be erased by cannabis-based products,” said a Home Office spokesperson in a statement. “And we have announced that cannabis-based products for medicinal use will be available for specialist doctors to prescribe legally from the autumn.”
“Any proposed course of treatment with cannabis-based medicine must be clinically led,” they stated.
An estimated 28 million people in the UK live with chronic pain and, according to the MS Society, there are around 10,000 people in the country with multiple sclerosis who could benefit from prescription cannabis medicine.