- From today, November 1, specialist doctors in the UK can legally issue prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines without applying for a special licence.
- The law changed in October after passionate campaigning from families who had previously been using the drug to treat illnesses including epilepsy under special licences or abroad.
This is what it meant to one mother, Hannah Deacon from Kenilworth in Warwickshire, when she learnt that government attitudes were changing, and her six-year-old son Alfie Dingley could receive treatment for his epilepsy in this country.
They travelled to the Netherlands to try cannabis-based medication, and say there was a noticeable improvement in his condition.
Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, made the decision following campaigns by those affected and an urgent review of cannabis-based medicinal products.
Doctors will no longer need to seek approval from an expert panel in order for patients to access the medicines.
- The decision to prescribe these medicines must be made by a specialist doctor – not a GP.
- They must make decisions on prescribing cannabis-based products for medicinal use on a case-by-case basis.
- It must only be prescribed when the clinical need can't be met by any other treatment
- It's for three conditions - severe epilepsy, sickness caused by chemotherapy, spasticity caused by MS.
But there are concerns that the legislation has been rushed in, with fears medicinal cannabis could spark an addiction crisis, and also the doctors have not had sufficient training.
The government has made it clear that this does not pave the way towards legalising cannabis for recreational use.