Medicinal cannabis can now be legally prescribed to patients in the UK from the 1st of November.
In the landmark ruling, medicinal cannabis and cannabis oils may now be prescribed in England, Wales and Scotland to patients in a limited and case-by-case basis where other treatments may have failed and all other options exhausted.
It is believed that the change was due to a number of recent high-profile cases including those of Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, both of whom have severe epilepsy. Both of the boys conditions were said to have improved significantly after taking cannabis oils.
From the 1st of November, cannabis based products can now be prescribed by specialist doctors in UK hospitals, but are not currently available to be prescribed by GP’s.
Any products that are prescribed will need to be regulated and meet UK safety standards.
There will not be any limit to the kind of conditions that can be treated by the cannabis-derived products, but it is thought that it will be similar to those that are currently covered in many U.S states where medicinal cannabis products are already legal. These may including:-
Cannabis contains two primary substances, which are CBD (Cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC is the substance that provides the ‘high’ in recreational cannabis use, but it is the CBD element which has been shown to provide therapeutic benefits in clinical trials. Any future cannabis based products will be solely those that contain the CBD compound.
In trials, CBD has been shown to have positive health benefits in treating epilepsy as well as having anti-pain, anti-inflammatory and anti-psychotic properties.
Recreational use of cannabis in the UK is still illegal and the UK government has reiterated that the change in law for medicinal use does not affect the current legislation on the recreational use of cannabis.