- Cannabis-based products can be prescribed for medicinal use from November 1
- Comes after epileptic boy Billy Caldwell was banned from taking cannabis oil
- Sajid Javid granted Billy a 20-day license for the drug’s use after a campaign
- Mr Javid has insisted the change will not lead to broader cannabis legislation
According to Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Medical cannabis oil will be available on prescrition from November 1.
The laws in UK will change in order to allow cannabis based products for medicinal usage, following the dramatic medical scandal after patients have been denied products containing THC, the cannabinoid which makes users “high”. The new law should be applicable for England, Wales and Scotland. The scandals evolved around the epileptic boy Billy Caldwell, to whom access was denied of the cannabis oil prescribed abroad. A large campaign of his mother forced the Secretary to give back the medicine with a legal license to use it.
The Home Secretary insist in a wider legal aspect of cannabis, by reviewing the Misuse of Drugs Regulations act of 2001 into investigation allowing for the prescription of cannabis products as medical use.
The investigation, conducted by the chief medical advisor, Professor Dame Sally Davies, reviled evidence of beneficial effects from medical cannabis. Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACDM), recommended a replacement of medical cannabis products into the Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. and can now be prescribed by pharmacists and doctors. Schedule 1 drugs, are seen as no beneficial to health and therefore are not allowed to be prescribed.
The transition of cannabis products into Schedule 2 drugs have to meet the following criteria, according to Mr Javid:
- Contain cannabis, cannabis extracts, the compound cannabinol or a cannabinol derivative
- Are created for medicinal use in humans
- Are a medical product or used as an ingredient in a health product
A cannabinoid that already is legal is CBD (Cannabidiol), while it does not contain any psychoactive components.
The Home Secretary addresses that it was always his intention to ensure that patients have access to the most appropriate medical treatment. He said in his statement:
‘I stressed the importance of acting swiftly to ensure that where medically appropriate, these products could be available to be prescribed to patients.
‘I have been clear that this should be achieved at the earliest opportunity whilst ensuring that the appropriate safeguards were in place to minimise the risks of misuse and diversion.’
Nevertheless, Mr Javid also said that the government believes it is important that access to such medicines remains controlled and prevent misuse, even-though evidence supporting medicinal cannabis grows larger every day.
the statement therefore claims that prescriptions will only be made by doctors on the specialist, register of the General Medicine Council, like neurologists, who generally treat epilepsy patients, among others.
Hannah Deacon, whose son Alfie Dingley was was given cannabis oil treatment after a landmark Home Office ruling, called the move ‘momentous’.
Six-year-old Alfie suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, which can cause him to have up to 30 seizures a day.
‘Today is a momentous day for every patient and family with a suffering child who wish to access medicinal cannabis,’ Ms Deacon said.
‘We urge the medical world to get behind these reforms so they can help the tens of thousands of people who are in urgent need of help.
‘I have personally seen how my son’s life has changed due to the medical cannabis he is now prescribed.
‘As a family we were facing his death. Now we are facing his life, full of joy and hope, which is something I wish for each and every person in this country who could benefit from this medicine.’
Mr Javid added, however, the re-scheduling of cannabis products will not led to the drug being legalised for recreational use.
‘I have been consistently clear that I have no intention of legalising the recreational use of cannabis,’ he said.
‘To take account of the particular risk of misuse of cannabis by smoking and the operational impacts on enforcement agencies, the 2018 Regulations continue to prohibit smoking of cannabis, including of cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans.’
Until the changes come into play on November 1, the Independent Expert Panel will continue to consider applications for medicinal cannabis products, he added.
‘These regulations are not an end in themselves,’ Mr Javid said.
‘The ACMD 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.
‘The Government will monitor the impact of the policy closely as the evidence-base develops and review when the ACMD provides its final advice.’
Mr Javid added his officials are working closely with the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, ‘which intends to mirror these legislative amendments’.
Genevieve Edwards, director of external affairs at the MS Society, said:’This is a landmark moment as the UK comes closer to joining countries around the world to offer access to cannabis for medicinal use.
‘MS is often painful and exhausting, and this change in the law could have a huge impact for up to 10,000 people with the condition to relieve their pain and muscle spasms.
‘It’s crucial that specialist doctors can prescribe it in a fair and timely way on the NHS for everyone who could benefit, and we welcome robust guidance being put in place to help them make their decisions.’
(source: Daily mail)