Medical cannabis – which is thought to provide relief from pain and muscle spasms for some people with MS – is to be made available on prescription after being approved for use by the Government.
Doctors will be able to prescribe medicine derived from marijuana “by the autumn” the Home Office has announced. The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory.
“Following advice from two sets of independent advisors, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products – meaning they will be available on prescription. This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need.”
An initial review by Dame Sally Davies, chief medical adviser, concluded there is evidence medicinal cannabis has therapeutic benefits.
The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which carried out the second part of the review, said doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis provided products meet safety standards.
Toni Krok, Founder of MS Positive says: “We are not a medical charity and so we can’t give advice on treatment, but it is really important for those with MS to have access to the widest possible range of therapies and so I welcome the decision by the Government to allow cannabis to be prescribed to people with MS as appropriate.”
Genevieve Edwards, director of external affairs at the MS Society, said: “This is exceptional news and we want to thank the Home Secretary for the speed at which this decision has been made. The priority now has to be making sure everyone who could benefit can access cannabis in a safe and responsible way.
“We plan to work closely with the Government to determine what exactly this will mean for people with MS. This life-changing decision could help thousands with the condition who haven’t been able to find relief for their pain and muscle spasms.”