Set to Legalise Cannabis-based Medicines
The UK governments’ chief drug advisors have said that doctors in the UK should be able to prescribe cannabis derived medicine. The recommendation would pave the way for a loosening of laws governing access to the substance in the UK. Following review, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) states that cannabis-based medicines should be placed in schedule two of the Misuse of Drugs Regulation, 2001. This would ultimately allow them to be prescribed by clinicians.
Cannabis, as of current is classed as a schedule 1 drug meaning it is thought to have no therapeutic value and you cannot legally get a prescription or be in possession. It is however legal to grow for the purpose of research, but to do so requires a well sought-after Home Office License.
Turning of the Tide - Next Stop Legislation
The significant changes in legislation are coming to light shortly after chief medical officer, Sally Davies said that there was in fact evidence of a “therapeutic benefit” for some conditions. Home Office Secretary Sajid Javid who commissioned both reviews had previously stated that if significant medical and therapeutic benefits were identified then cannabis could be rescheduled for medical use.
Javid ordered part one of the review last month following the very public cases of both 12-year-old Billy Caldwell and six-year-old Alfie Dingley. Both children had been denied access to cannabis oil in which they had used to control severe epileptic seizures.
Following the announcement of the review reports have claimed there has been a division within cabinet. Prime Minister Theresa May is said to have disagreed with the review going ahead.
Spokesperson for ACMD
The chair of the ACMD, Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, said: “We have completed the first part of our review for rapid advice into the scheduling of cannabis-derived medicinal products.
“We recommend that cannabis-derived medicinal products of the appropriate standard be moved out of schedule 1 of the misuse of drugs regulations 2001. This means that medical practitioners would be able to prescribe such medications to patients with certain medical conditions.
“At present, cannabis-derived products can vary greatly in their composition, effectiveness and level of impurity. It is important that clinicians, patients and their families are confident that any prescribed medication is both safe and effective.”
The UK’s move to legalise cannabis-based medicines will bring it policies into the future and closer to those of Canada, Holland, Portugal, and a large part of the US. The substance was outlawed in 1971 as it was seen as a gateway drug to much more serious and harmful materials. At present, all emerging clinical date points towards medical cannabis having a positive impact on the lives of those living with epilepsy, MS, Cancer, and a number of other serious conditions. Modern Medicine in the UK will soon be facing big changes.