UK Allows Medical Cannabis Prescriptions

October 12, 2018

According to a recent New York Times article, doctors in the United Kingdom will be allowed to write prescriptions for medical cannabis as of November 1, 2018.

According to a recent New York Times article (1), doctors in the United Kingdom will be allowed to write prescriptions for medical cannabis as of November 1, 2018.

The change was brought about by two highly publicized cases of children with epileptic disorders-Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley-that were dependent on cannabis-based medicine for treatment but had trouble getting it (2). Home Secretary Sajid Javid called for an urgent review of cannabis-based medicine in June 2018 and by July his office had decided that “senior clinicians will be able to prescribe the medicines to patients with an exceptional clinical need.”

In an announcement on Thursday, October 11, 2018, Javid said, “We have now delivered on our promise and specialist doctors will have the option to prescribe these products where there is a real need.”

The statement also explained that general practice doctors will not be authorized to prescribe cannabis-based medicines. In addition, prescription decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, specifically when a patient has an unmet special clinical need that cannot be met by licensed products.

These changes apply to England, Wales, and Scotland. Northern Ireland reportedly intends to undertake similar legislative amendments.

References:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/11/world/europe/uk-medical-cannabis.html
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/world/europe/uk-medical-marijuana-cannabis.html?module=inline