The legality of medical cannabis in the UK

The UK legalised medicinal cannabis on 1 November 2018 after several high-profile cases involving children with severe epilepsy and others with chronic pain. However, there is still some confusion about where you can get it and what the options are. This guide explains the process for obtaining and using medicinal cannabis in the UK.

When medicinal cannabis became legal

In November 2018, the UK government approved the use of medicinal cannabis for certain conditions. However, this doesn’t mean that all people with a medical marijuana prescription can now access cannabis-derived products. Rather, it means that patients who have been prescribed medicinal cannabis will be allowed to access it from a specific number of pharmacies within England and Wales.

When doctors can prescribe it

Doctors can prescribe medicinal cannabis if they believe that their patient will benefit from it and if all other treatment options have been exhausted or tried first. Patients must meet certain criteria, including having a clinical need that can’t be met by any other licensed medicine and suffering a condition with significant clinical evidence of efficacy.

The Home Office has published a list of conditions for which doctors can prescribe medicinal cannabis without needing the Home Secretary’s approval. These conditions include people who have epilepsy that doesn’t respond to anti-epileptic medication; people with vomiting or nausea from chemotherapy that isn’t controlled by anti-nausea medication; and people with muscle stiffness and spasms caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) that don’t respond to conventional treatments.

There are also some other conditions listed, including:

• Chronic pain (including cancer pain) where standard pain relief does not work well enough, or at all
• Severe chronic pain (including cancer pain) where there is no risk of addiction

The different types

There are two types of medical cannabis available in the UK under the name Epidyloex – a liquid oral solution (CBD oil) and a spray containing both CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). There is also one called Nabilone, which is prescribed in the form of capsules. Nabiximols, a mouth spray containing both CBD and THC, is also used to treat muscle stiffness caused by MS. None of these types contain enough THC to make you feel ‘high’.

If you’re looking for legal medical cannabis in London, get in touch with London Cannabis Clinic. Our team will be happy to answer any further questions you have.