October 10, 2018, UK
After the case of a child MMJ patient making it to the global headlines in July this year, the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid promised to reclassify medical marijuana. Now, reports are coming that the Javid has approved the reclassification of the strain and the formal announcement is coming in a couple of weeks. The approval will give the National Health Service, the primary health care provider of the union, to prescribe medical cannabis treatments. Javid promised to make medical cannabis permissible by autumn and now it looks like this is going to happen.
The UK has classified cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance for a long time. This is the same category in which cannabis is classified in the US. Schedule 1 classification entails that the given substance doesn’t have any therapeutic or medicinal value. After learning the importance of MMJ treatments for suffering patients firsthand, the Kingdom’s administration decided to relegate cannabis to Schedule 2. Moving cannabis to lower category of control substance classification means physicians will be legally allowed to suggest and prescribe cannabis-based treatments.
It is important to note that cannabis laws in the UK, in general, are pretty strict. All forms and uses of cannabis are deemed illegal in the country except for some unique medical cases. Companies can research the strain after going through a rigorous licensing and permitting procedure of the Home Office. Right now only two cannabis-derived medicines Sativex and Nabilone are available in the UK, which are only accessible to a handful of patients. Sativex is an actually a CBD-only medical product while Nabilone is made of synthetic THC.
The decision to reclassify cannabis’s medical status is not an impulsive one. Home secretary green-lighted the reclassification only after comprehensive review work of the Drug Policy Committee and Chief Medical Officer.
Reclassification will be limited to oil products only
It is important to mention here that it’s not going to be a blanket reclassification for the strain. This means the UK is not going to put all cannabis forms in Schedule 2. For instance, botanical forms of the strain (flowers and buds) will still classify as Schedule 1 substance. Similarly, cannabis edibles will not be allowed as medical marijuana products. The law will only allow healthcare providers to prescribe marijuana-derived THC oils, whereas hemp-derived CBD oils are already permissible.
The Home Office hasn’t furnished any particular list of qualifying medical conditions for MMJ treatments. However, it is being said that patients with epilepsy, cancer, and multiple sclerosis will be eligible to get MMJ prescriptions. Eventually, it will be on physician’s discretion to decide if the condition of any given patient merits MMJ administration or not.
The disease prevalence in the Union suggests that MMJ has a huge scope in the UK healthcare sector. Every day 87 epilepsy cases are coming to the fore in the Kingdom. According to a report, more than 40 percent of the country population is suffering from chronic pain, a condition considered treatable by medical cannabis.