Doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis products to patients from 1 November, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid says.
Javid stated in his written statement: “I have been clear that my intention was always to ensure that patients have access to the most appropriate course of medical treatment.
“I stressed the importance of acting swiftly to ensure that where medically appropriate, these products could be available to be prescribed to patients.”
Adding: “I have been consistently clear that I have no intention of legalising the recreational use of cannabis. To take account of the particular risk of misuse of cannabis by smoking and the operational impacts on enforcement agencies, the 2018 regulations continue to prohibit smoking of cannabis, including of cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans.”
This new regulations apply to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Cannabis has previously been classed as a schedule one drug, meaning it is thought to have no therapeutic value but can be used for the purposes of research with a Home Office licence.
But subsequently a review was carried out this followed an outcry over Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell being denied access to cannabis oil.
The parents of the two young epilepsy sufferers said the product helped to control their seizures.
Alfie’s mother, Hannah Deacon, welcomed the move, saying: “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…”
Medical cannabis expert, Professor Mike Barnes secured the first long-term licence for its use for Alfie, encouraged doctors to embrace the changes to the laws on prescribing medicinal cannabis.
An initial review by chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies concluded there was evidence medicinal cannabis has therapeutic benefits.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which carried out the second part of the review, then said doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis provided products met safety standards. The review recommended cannabis-derived medicinal products should be placed in schedule two of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.