Make medicinal cannabis legal?

Cannabis oil is legal in the UK, but some treatments are not

The law on medical cannabis in England and Wales

Cannabis is not recognised as having any therapeutic value under the law in England and Wales, and a person can commit any of the range of offences including possession and supply.

However, there is a cannabis-based product - Sativex - which can be legally prescribed and supplied in limited circumstances.

In 2006 the Home Office licensed Sativex so that:

  • Doctors, at their own risk, could privately prescribe,

  • Pharmacists could possess and dispense, and

  • Named patients with a prescription could possess

In June 2010 the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory products Agency (MHRA) authorised Sativex as an extra treatment for patients with spasticity due to Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

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Should the UK consider legalising medical cannabis?

By Joe Harker

In the UK using cannabis for medicinal purposes is illegal, though cbd oil, which doesnot have the psychoactive THC element, is not.

It may seem odd to some that cannabis oil is available in high street stores and sales are surging. An estimated number of 250,000 people in the UK use legally-purchased cannabis oil which contains less than 0.2 per cent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive agent that gets people high. Basically, cannabis products in the UK are legal as long as they don't get you high.

However, there have been instances where illegal cannabis products have been used to treat those with illness. A campaign to allow a six-year-old boy to be treated with medicinal cannabis had the support of Layla Moran MP, who said it was "disgraceful" that the child's family were having to fight to treat their son with cannabis.

A mother in Inverclyde is facing down the law by importing a form of cannabis oil that contains THC and is therefore illegal in the UK. Her terminally ill daughter is improving due to the oil after doctors said they had done all they could do, though she risks jail time by continuing. She is campaigning to make the treatment legal in Scotland, as the cannabis she buys is from Canada where it is used legally as medicine.

There seems to be some appetite in the UK for more cannabis products to be made legal for medical use. Cases where people either use or want to use illegal products are attracting support from the public and politicians. The UK is actually the world's largest producer and exporter of cannabis for medical and research purposes, though the government still says it has no medical use and has no plans to drop it down from being a Class B drug. This would seem to be something of a contradiction and in times to come the law may be changed.

The Independent suggests that legal marijuana could become a bigger market than fizzy drinks. More access to cannabis might also hit sales of alcohol if trends from the US prove to apply elsewhere. States that have legalised cannabis have seen binge drinking fall nine per cent below the national average, perhaps a similar trend would be observed in the UK.

There may also be confidence in the prospect of a future where the UK legalises cannabis. An investment firm dedicated to funding medical cannabis has been floated on the stock exchange and is attracting investors. Perhaps the future is green after all.

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