From the 1st November and for the first time in the UK, expert doctors have been given the option to legally issue prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines, when it has been agreed that their patients could benefit from this form of treatment.
Cannabis had previously been classed as a schedule one drug, meaning it is thought to have no therapeutic value but can be used for the purposes of research with a Home Office licence.
Sajid Javid, Home Secretary; announced cannabis-derived medicinal products were to be placed in schedule 2 of the 2001 Misuse of Drugs Regulations, allowing clinicians to prescribe them, after a review was conducted by chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies who concluded that there was evidence to suggest that medicinal cannabis did have therapeutic benefits. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) performed the second part of the review, and decided doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis provided the products met safety standards. Since then the regulations have been confirmed.
In a statement to parliament, Javid said: “I have been clear that my intention was always to ensure that patients have access to the most appropriate course of medical treatment. I stressed the importance of acting swiftly to ensure where medically appropriate, these products could be available to be prescribed to patients.”
Javid went on to state that he had no intent however to legalise use of the substance for recreational purposes. He added: “I have been consistently clear that I have no intention of legalising the recreational use of cannabis. To take account of the risk of misuse of cannabis by smoking and the operational impacts of enforcement agencies, the 2018 regulations continue to prohibit smoking of cannabis.”
Home Office statistics state that cannabis is the UK’s most popular illegal recreational drug, with 7.2% of adults aged 16-59 using the drug – approx. 2.4 million (2017/18 figures).
A previous article looks at the differences between cannabis oil, CBD oil and hemp oil. If you would like to find out more information about cannabis or indeed any other substances, visit our drug detection page – http://bit.ly/RTS-drugstest
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