The Legalities of Using Medicinal Cannabis for Pain Treatment in the UK

Pain management is a significant concern for many individuals, and in recent years, medicinal cannabis has emerged as a potential option for relief. However, understanding the legalities surrounding its use is crucial to ensure compliance and access to safe and effective treatment. In this article, we’ll explore the legal status of medical cannabis in the UK and the specific ailments for which it can be legally prescribed.

Is medicinal cannabis legal in the UK?

In November 2018, the UK government made changes to the law regarding medicinal cannabis. Prior to this change, cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 drug under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, which deemed it to have no medicinal value. However, the updated legislation acknowledged that cannabis does possess medicinal properties and can be used under specific circumstances.

Under current UK law, medicinal cannabis is legal when prescribed by a specialist doctor on the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register. It is important to note that not all doctors can prescribe medical cannabis. Only those who have undergone appropriate training and have expertise in the field are authorised to do so.

What ailments can medicinal cannabis be legally prescribed for in the UK?

Medicinal cannabis can be legally prescribed in the UK for certain medical conditions where other treatment options have proven ineffective or are associated with undesirable side effects. The specific ailments for which medical cannabis can be prescribed include:

Chronic pain: Medical cannabis can be prescribed for chronic pain conditions that have not responded adequately to other treatments. This includes conditions such as neuropathic pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.

Multiple sclerosis (MS): Individuals with MS-related spasticity can be prescribed medicinal cannabis as an adjunctive treatment to alleviate muscle stiffness and spasms.

Nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy: Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy may be prescribed medical cannabis to manage treatment-induced nausea and vomiting, which can significantly impact their quality of life.
Epilepsy: Medicinal cannabis can be considered for certain forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, when conventional antiepileptic drugs have proven ineffective.

It is important to note that the decision to prescribe medical cannabis is made on a case-by-case basis, considering individual patient needs and circumstances.

In the UK, medical cannabis is legal under certain circumstances and when prescribed by specialist doctors. If you’re looking to consult with a specialist doctor on the General Medical Council’s Specialist Register to obtain a prescription for medicinal cannabis, you can find out more by contacting the London Cannabis Clinic.