Under new rulings, doctors will be allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis in the UK from today, November 1.
The government has faced mounting pressure from campaigners of late, especially after a number of high-profile cases showed evidence how the drug can be beneficial to people with certain illnesses.
Cannabis oil has been shown to help those with epilepsy, as it can reduce the severity and number of seizures. In a recent case, the Home Office released life-saving cannabis oil for a 12-year-old boy after it was seized at Heathrow airport.
Until recently, cannabis has been classed as a ‘schedule one’ drug, meaning it has no therapeutic value. However, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has worked to ‘reschedule’ cannabis-derived medicines.
After a review, Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davis, concluded there was enough evidence to be able to reschedule the drug, as her findings suggested medicinal cannabis can be used therapeutically.
Doctors will be able to prescribe the cannabis-based drugs as long as safety standards are met, according to a review by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).
Daniel Pryor, from the Adam Smith Institute, told The Sun:
I think that it’s absolutely fantastic news for kids like Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell who suffered under the previous laws we had, and I think it could be the start of real change in UK drug laws generally.
Recent polls have shown the highest ever approval ratings for legalisation in the UK, and this move towards medical cannabis legalisation is a positive move towards drug law reform.
Unlike Canada and certain states in the US, cannabis will strictly only be available with a prescription.
Sajid David announced the plans back in October, which were welcomed by charities, campaigners and experts.
Six-year-old Alfie Dingley suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, which can cause him to suffer up to 150 seizures a month. THC oil has helped control those seizures
When the new plans were announced, Alfie’s mother, Hannah Deacon 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.
Cannabis oil has been used to treat a number of conditions, including mental health, sleep problems, low appetite, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s.
Cannabidiol (CBD), has also been shown to help prevent signs of ageing, as well as protecting against eczema and psoriasis.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.