Medical cannabis will be available on NHS prescription later this year.
Home secretary, Sajid Javid, revealed on Thursday (July 26) that the Government had changed its mind on “cannabis-derived medicinal products”, according to the Mirror .
The u-turn comes after a campaign fuelled by outrage at the treatment of epilepsy sufferer, 12-year-old Billy Caldwell.
Thousands of patients with drug-resistant conditions will potentially be allowed to use these ‘products’ for treatment following Mr Javid’s announcement.
According to The Guardian, they should be placed in schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, allowing clinicians to prescribe them by the autumn.
The department then issued a special temporary licence allowing Billy to use the drug after a public outcry – and launched a review of its status.
Billy’s mum Charlotte said today: “It’s over; it’s unbelievable, incredible. It’s been an eternity and the click of the fingers at the same time.
“For the first time in months I’m almost lost for words, other than ‘thank-you Sajid Javid’. We made more progress in six weeks than any UK government made in six decades.
“But, crucially, my little boy Billy can now live a normal life with his mummy because of the simple ability to now administer a couple of drops a day of a long-maligned but entirely effective natural medication.”
Mr Javid said: “Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory.
“Following advice from two sets of independent advisors, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products – meaning they will be available on prescription.
“This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need.”
Previously cannabis was a Schedule 1 drug – meaning it had ‘no therapeutic value’ in the eyes of the law.
But after Mr Javid launched a rapid two-part review, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs announced it had medical benefits “in certain circumstances”.
Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies also concluded there was evidence of medical benefits.
The drug now looks set to change to Schedule 2 – allowing it to be possessed and prescribed legally by pharmacists and doctors.
It will still be illegal to possess the Class B drug without a prescription.
That class is not set to change – meaning possession for recreational use will still carry an unlimited fine and up to five years’ jail, rising to 14 years for dealers.
Tory peer Lord Hague called for Mr Javid to go further, saying the announcement was an “important step to a sensible policy”.
But despite the calls, Mr Javid said the shake-up “is in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.”
The Department of Health will now work with regulators to establish exactly what products can be prescribed – and all others will still be banned.
In the meantime, fees for individual patients who apply for a licence to use cannabis will be waived, Mr Javid said.
MPs, charities and campaigners had long been pushing for reform.
Karen Gray, whose 38degrees petition for medical cannabis for her son Murray won 240,000 signatures, said: “There are so many children in the UK who will benefit from medicinal cannabis – not to mention the adults.
“I am delighted… We still have a long way to go but this is certainly progress.”
MS Society director Genevieve Edwards said: “This is exceptional news and we want to thank the Home Secretary for the speed at which this decision has been made.
“This life-changing decision could help thousands with the condition who haven’t been able to find relief for their pain and muscle spasms.”
Tory former Home Office minister Sir Mike Penning, who leads the parliamentary group on medical cannabis, warned the drug must not be snarled up in lengthy medical trials and bureaucracy.
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Source : https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/health/medical-cannabis-available-nhs-after-1830256
Source : https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-medical-cannabis-available-prescription-12984322
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