Medical Cannabis to be Legalized in the United Kingdom

Medical Cannabis to be Legalized in the United Kingdom
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The government in the U.K. has announced that it will relax laws governing access to medical cannabis, which will allow physicians to prescribe cannabis-derived medications. [1]

Home secretary Sajid Javid announced July 26 that cannabis-based medications should be moved to the schedule 2 category in the country’s 2001 Misuse of Drugs Regulations to allow doctors to prescribe them by autumn. Like in the United States, cannabis is currently a schedule 1 drug in the United Kingdom.

As a schedule 1 drug, cannabis is categorized as having no medicinal value and is illegal to prescribe or possess. Marijuana can be used for research, but a Home Office license is required to study the plant.

The move will provide additional treatment options to potentially thousands of patients with treatment-resistant conditions.

Read: Cannabis Compound Found to Help Rare Forms of Epilepsy

Javid’s announcement came after the government’s official drug advisers and England’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, each concluded that cannabis does, in fact, have valid medicinal uses.

It also comes a week after the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said that doctors should be able to prescribe cannabis so long as products meet safety standards. [2]

Javid said:

“Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory. This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need, but is in no way a first step to the legalization of cannabis for recreational use.” [1]

Read: Could Marijuana Replace These 5 Major Pharmaceutical Drugs?

Those who possess marijuana will still face fines and up to 5 years in jail, while dealers could spend up to 14 years in prison. [2]

It is now the job of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) as well as the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) to define what is considered a cannabis-derived medicinal product.


[1] The Guardian

[2] Independent