Following recent reports that medical cannabis would become available on prescription in the UK within the next month, we now have a confirmed date for the go-ahead.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis products to patients from 1 November, with the new rule applying to England, Wales and Scotland.
Javid said: “This brings these products explicitly into the existing medicines framework.
“These regulations are not an end in themselves. The ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) 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.”
The new rules have been brought in following several high profile stories of young epilepsy sufferers whose conditions appear to ease with the use of cannabis oil – including Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley.
While the campaign to legalise cannabis products for medicinal use has been raging on for some time, a turning point game when the Home Office granted Billy Caldwell a special dispensation and urgent license for the use of cannabis oil.
Billy had his medicine confiscated on his return to the UK from Canada, where the drug is legal, but Home Secretary Sajid Javid says he has used ‘an exceptional power’ as Home Secretary to get a license issued for the Caldwells, according to Sky News.
After hearing the news, Hannah Deacon – the mother of six-year-old Alfie Dingley, who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy that causes him to have around 150 seizures every month – said: “Today is a momentous day for every patient and family with a suffering child who wish to access medicinal cannabis.
“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.”
Featured Image Credit: PA