Medical Cannabis To Become Available On UK Prescription Within A Month
Currently cannabis-derived medicines are only prescribed in exceptional circumstances - when the go-ahead is granted by a medical panel - but the Home Office is set to relax the rules.
According to the Metro, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has sanctioned the 'rescheduling' of the currently illegal treatment and an announcement is expected within two weeks, paving the way for it to be prescribed almost immediately.
It is believed that cannabis-derived medication could be given instead of a patient needing to try other treatments beforehand.
This means that people suffering with chronic pain, epilepsy, nausea as a result of chemotherapy and MS will be among those who will be prescribed the drug first.
Genevieve Edwards, from the MS Society, told the Sunday Telegraph: "This is very encouraging progress for thousands of people with MS who have been forced to choose between living with relentless pain and muscle spasm or breaking the law."
The campaign to legalise cannabis for medical purposes has gone on for some time but the turning point was when the Home Office granted Charlotte Caldwell's 12-year-old son, Billy, a special dispensation and 'urgent' licence for the of use medicinal cannabis oil.
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Billy was the first in the UK to receive a consignment of the drug on the NHS to help him with his intractable epilepsy, which leaves him with suffering with up to 100 seizures a day. Charlotte says the medicinal cannabis virtually cured Billy's symptoms and improved his quality of life.
But according to Charlotte, authorities told their family doctor to stop handing out the life-saving treatment - after which she flew to Canada, where the drug is legal, to stock up on the medicine before Billy's ran out.
After the confiscation in the UK, Sajid Javid used 'an exceptional power' as Home Secretary to get a licence issued for the family, according to Sky News.
Speaking outside hospital at the time, Charlotte said: "There can only be one conclusion here: that my beautiful sweet little boy, who has a life-threatening form of epilepsy and one seizure can kill him, he needs his medicine back."
And now a Government spokesperson has told the Metro: "We completely sympathise with the families who have been facing desperate situations as they try to find treatment.
"In July the Home Secretary committed to swift action on behalf of those whose medical conditions could potentially be eased by cannabis-based products and we have announced that cannabis-based products for medicinal use will be available for specialist doctors to prescribe legally from the Autumn.
"In the interim the expert panel will consider applications for these products. Any proposed course of treatment with cannabis-based medicine must be clinically led."
Featured Image Credit: PA