According to reports, cannabis will be available on National Health Service (NHS) within a month. Chemotherapy patients are said to be the first to benefit from the new development since the prescriptions of this controversial remedy is set to start with them. As you perhaps know, NHS is a publicly funded healthcare system for England that offers healthcare for all UK nationals, including those who are unable to pay for it. Therefore, the entry of medical cannabis into NHS is a big statement and big news to the cannabis industry in the UK and across the world.
Besides, the government is also expected to make an announcement on “rescheduling” of medical cannabis and lifting of its restrictions. This will make cannabis plant accessible to patients with severe epilepsy, chronic pain or nausea associated with cancer treatment. However, until now medical cannabis has been prescribed in exceptional cases only due to the restrictive government rules on the substance.
According to Daily Telegraph reports, the groundbreaking announcement is expected to happen in a fortnight. Therefore, specialist doctors will be legally allowed to give prescriptions of the drug to their patients some weeks later. The latest development follows after a close battle from campaigners who have devotedly fought to see medical cannabis included in the healthcare in the UK for its numerous health benefits. This change will give the drug a huge nod this year and make Britain one of the few nations in Europe that have less restrictive laws on the use of medical marijuana such as Germany.
However, these are not the only countries that have embraced the use of medical cannabis as some countries have even enacted rules to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana. For instance, Canada has passed a bill to authorize the use of recreational marijuana that is expected to officially come into effect on 17th October this year. Moreover, some states in the US have relaxed the laws on medical cannabis, though the federal laws are still against it. This has seen medical cannabis products being prescribed for a number of health conditions, including chronic pain, epilepsy, arthritis, sleep issues, and anxiety disorder.
Studies show that up to 28 million people in the UK alone are living with chronic pain. This includes those that suffer from conditions like multiple sclerosis (MS) and arthritis. Consequently, the MS society has announced that at least 10, 000 individuals who suffer from the condition will benefit from the prescription of the drug for medical purposes. However, it is not yet clear how many cases will have access to medical marijuana once the announcement is made.
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence is expected to review NHS funding and present the finding in 2019. However, until then, decisions are likely to be made based on a case-by-case criteria.
George Freeman, the former science minister, had advised Britain “lead other nations in the informed regulation of modern medicine,” while also adding that the legislation will “present the UK with a huge business opportunity.”
Britain produces 60 percent of medical cannabis used for pharmaceutical research in the world already. But the imminent announcement is said to apply to cannabis oil that contains THC only, which is an active component in cannabis that makes people “high” when used for recreational purposes. It is also important to mention that cannabis oil that is free of THC is currently legal, which means that it can be bought from many stores in most high streets in the UK.
The new change means that products derived from medical cannabis will be removed from a list of substances in Schedule 1. Schedule 1 consists of drugs and substances that people are restricted to use or possess for any purposes. Moreover, Schedule 1 is the strictest category for elements that have potential professional uses but require a license from the Home Office before they are used. Consequently, medical cannabis is expected to be taken to Schedule 2, which is a more relaxed group.
This report comes after the case of Charlotte Caldwell story, mother to Billy Caldwell, a 13-year kid who had epilepsy. The story of this mother made headlines in the UK after the medical cannabis that was prescribed to the kid was confiscated at Heathrow. But the expected announcement will put an end to such harassment and allow people with any health condition to enjoy the benefits of medical cannabis.
Cannabis to be available on NHS within a Month: https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1028305/medical-cannabis-drug-chemotherapy-epilepsy-home-office-billy-caldwell
Medical cannabis available on prescription within a month: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/10/06/medical-cannabis-available-prescription-within-month/
Medical cannabis to be available in the UK from next month: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2182307-medicinal-cannabis-will-be-available-in-the-uk-from-next-month/
Medical cannabis to be available on NHS from November 1: https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/11/cannabis-to-be-available-on-nhs-from-november-1-8028723/
Medical cannabis to be available on prescription within a month with 10, 000 MS sufferers set to benefit: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6249029/Medical-cannabis-available-prescription-month.htmlhttps://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6249029/Medical-cannabis-available-prescription-month.html