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Review signals step towards legalisation of medicinal cannabis in UK

Published on 04/07/18 at 10:59am
Medicinal cannabis in a laboratory

England’s Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies has concluded that there is “conclusive evidence” that cannabis is medically beneficial for some patients in specific conditions.

In a step towards cannabis being legalised for medicinal use, Davies said that it was difficult to defend cannabis’ Schedule 1 status which prevents it from being used for medicinal use.

Her conclusion, outlined in the first part of a review commissioned by Home Secretary Sajid Javid last month, states that there was conclusive evidence for the therapeutic benefits of cannabis-based products for the treatment of certain medical conditions which include chronic pain, nausea and vomiting associated with the side effects of chemotherapy and the muscle spasticity that is a symptom of multiple sclerosis.

As stated by Davies “There is now…conclusive evidence of the therapeutic benefit of cannabis-based medicinal products for certain medical conditions and reasonable evidence of therapeutic benefit in several other medical conditions. I therefore recommend that the whole class of cannabis-based medicinal products be moved out of Schedule 1.”

With 82% of Britons supporting the legalisation of medicinal marijuana in the United Kingdom, public opinion is overwhelmingly in favour such a move. Although cannabis-based product Sativex is currently listed as a Schedule 4 drug in the UK, raw cannabis and THC are listed as Schedule 1.

In response to the review, Dr Adrian James, Registrar at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, stated that:  “We fully support a review that may lead to improved treatment for patients. Cannabis products for medicinal use that have been properly reviewed, and approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, can have significant health benefits.”

Louis Goss

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