Cannabis oil will be available on prescription to people with chronic pain across the UK within a month, it has been reported Currently cannabis-derived medicines are only prescribed in exceptional circumstances, when permission is granted by a panel of medical experts, but the Home Office is set to relax the rules. Home Secretary Sajid Javid has sanctioned the ‘rescheduling’ of cannabis-derived medicines in Parliament and an announcement is expected within two weeks paving the way for it to be prescribed almost immediately.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid sanctioned the prescription of cannabis-based medicines (Picture: Reuters)
There will be specialist doctors who will prescribe cannabis medicines and patients will no longer be forced to try other drugs before using cannabis-derived treatments. People suffering with chronic pain, epilepsy, nausea as a result of chemotherapy and MS will be among those who will be first to be prescribed the drugs. Genevieve Edwards, from the MS Society, told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘This is very encouraging progress for thousands of people with MS who have been forced to choose between living with relentless pain and muscle spasm or breaking the law.’ The turning point in the long-running campaign to legalise medical cannabis treatments was in June when the Home Office allowed Charlotte Caldwell’s 12-year-old son Billy to keep drugs prescribed to him in America after they had been seized at Heathrow Airport.
Charlotte Caldwell, mother of Billy Caldwell, had stand off with the Home Office in June (Picture: PA)
Ms Caldwell said: ‘I feel absolutely, truly blessed from the bottom of my heart, that Billy had access to this medicine.’ Both Billy and six-year-old Alfie Dingley, who both suffer from severe epilepsy, have now been prescribed cannabis based drugs in the UK but many families were denied permission. England’s chief medical officer conducted a review on medical cannabis earlier this year and this convinced the Home Secretary to relax the rules despite Theresa May’s long-standing opposition to softening drug laws. Cannabis oil and other medicinal cannabis treatments do not produce a high as they do not include the active THD which recreational marijuana contains.
Alfie Dingley, aged six, has been prescribed cannabis medicine for his severe epilepsy (Picture: PA)
A Government spokesperson said: ‘We completely sympathize with the families who have been facing desperate situations as they try to find treatment. ‘In July the Home Secretary committed to swift action on behalf of those whose medical conditions could potentially be eased by cannabis-based products and we have announced that cannabis-based products for medicinal use will be available for specialist doctors to prescribe legally from the Autumn. ‘In the interim the expert panel will consider applications for these products. Any proposed course of treatment with cannabis-based medicine must be clinically led.’