Scientist looking at medicinal cannabis in a laboratory

Cannabis-derived medicinal products to become available in UK

pharmafile | July 26, 2018 | News story | Medical Communications cannabis, law, medicinal marijuana, prescription, sajid javid, schedule drugs, uk politics 

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that cannabis derived medicinal products will be made available on prescription “by the autumn” of this year.

While cannabis is currently classified as a schedule 1 substance, the drug is to be rescheduled and placed into schedule 2. Although cannabis cannot currently be used for medicinal purposes, the change in policy should allow patients access to cannabis derived medicinal products by the end of this year.

The review comes as a number of high profile cases have hit the headlines. Both 12 year old Billy Caldwell and six year old Alfie Dingley brought the issue of medicinal cannabis into public discourse after they were denied access to cannabis oil for treatment of epileptic seizures.

In explaining his decision, Javid said in a statement: “Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory. Following advice from two sets of independent advisors, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products – meaning they will be available on prescription. This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need.”

However the Home Secretary added that the change in policy was “in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.”

The Department for Health and Social Care and the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency will now develop a set clear definitions which will act to determine what  cannabis derived medicinal products are. Only products that meet this definition will be available for prescription at the end of this year. In the meantime clinicians will be able to apply to an independent Expert Panel on behalf of patients wishing to access these cannabis derived medicinal products.

Louis Goss

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