Drug experts have advised the UK government that doctors should have the option to prescribe medical cannabis products to patients with certain health conditions.
According to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, rules should be changed to allow for cannabis-based medications. The ACMD also recommended that cannabis-derived medical products be reclassified as Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 in order to allow these products to be prescribed by medical practitioners.
Currently, cannabis is classifiedd as a Schedule 1 drug in the UK. This means that it is considered to have no therapeutic value and that the possession or prescription of such drug is prohibited. It may, however, be used for research purposes provided that a license from the Home Office has been obtained.
The ACMD’s recommendation came after they finished the first part of their review on the issue. This review was commissioned by Home Secretary Sajid Javid in June after several high-profile cases of epileptic children being denied to access to cannabis oil to manage their seizures.
These “high-profile” cases include that of six-year-old Alfie Dingley and 12-year-old Billy Caldwell.
In the review, Sally Davies, the chief medical officer of England, concluded that there was evidence of cannabis’ therapeutic benefit for certain conditions.
ACMD Chair Owen Bowden-Jones said that at present, cannabis-based medical products can vary in their effectiveness, composition, and their level of impurity. He said that it is important that patients and their families, as well as clinicians, are confident that any prescribed medication is safe and effective.