Doctors should be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis: advisory body

Doctors should be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis in the UK, the official body which advises the government on drugs has said.

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 7:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th July 2018, 9:03 pm
Billy Caldwell

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said there is “evidence of medicinal benefit of some of these products in certain circumstances” and recommended they should be able to be prescribed as long as they meet appropriate safety standards.

It advised Home Secretary Sajid Javid that cannabis-derived medicinal products should be placed in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (meaning the drugs “have therapeutic value but are highly addictive” and should be controlled, according to the government – with morphine one such example).

It follows a commission from the Home Office to review the scheduling of cannabis-derived medicine.

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The ACMD has now tasked the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) with producing a definition for these products, in order to allow them to be moved out of Schedule 1 (which covers “drugs that have no therapeutic value”).

The move was welcomed by co-chairman of the recently established cross-party parliamentary group on medical cannabis under prescription, Sir Mike Penning, and Professor Mike Barnes, who helped Alfie Dingley, aged six and from Warwickshire, become the first person in the UK to receive a licence to be treated with medicinal cannabis.

Prof Barnes said: “I’m delighted. More widespread access to medical cannabis in the UK is now within touching distance.”

The news comes after a long-running battle by the mother of epileptic Castlederg boy Billy Caldwell to obtain medical cannabis. Earlier this month it was announced he would legally be able to receive cannabis oil medication at home.