Friday 12 October 2018 1:06 AM UTC
LONDON Oct 12: Doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis products to patients as early as next month, Sajid Javid has announced. The Home Secretary said they will start handing out the prescriptions from November 1.
The new rules apply to England, Wales and Scotland, and follow several high-profile cases, including that of young epilepsy sufferers Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oil.
Setting out the new regulations regarding cannabis-based products for medicinal use, Mr Javid said: ‘This brings these products explicitly into the existing medicines framework.
‘These regulations are not an end in themselves. The ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) will be conducting a long-term review of cannabis and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has been commissioned to provide advice for clinicians by October next year.
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Professor Mike Barnes, the medical cannabis expert who secured the first long-term licence for its use, said: ‘This announcement has transformed the position of the UK in this exciting and developing field.
‘Many of my medical colleagues are understandably unsure about the benefits. ‘After all, medical cannabis has been illegal in the UK for generations. But I urge them to embrace these developments.
‘Compared to many pharmaceutical drugs, whole plant medical cannabis products are remarkably safe and, as recent high-profile cases have shown, can produce dramatic improvements for patients.’
An initial review by chief medical adviser Dame Sally Davies concluded that there is evidence medicinal cannabis has therapeutic benefits.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which carried out the second part of the review, then said doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis provided products meet safety standards.
It recommended cannabis-derived medicinal products should be placed in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.
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