1. ITV Report

Cannabis oil available on prescription from today

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  • 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.

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.

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Having been moved by heartbreaking cases involving sick children, it was important to me that we took swift action to help those who can benefit from medicinal cannabis.

We have now delivered on our promise and specialist doctors will have the option to prescribe these products where there is a real need.

– Sajid Javid, Home Secretary
  • 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.

The prospect of a future where safe and effective licensed cannabis-based medicines can be prescribed to help relieve suffering is genuinely exciting.

We will work with the NHS to help support specialists in making the right prescribing decisions.

– Professor Ashok Soni, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

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.