Posted by Jennifer Seavor, Senior Associate
Medicinal cannabis one year on remains a legal minefield
As a specialist in representing individuals suffering from mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestos-related diseases, I was invited to give a speech at Mesothelioma UK’s patient and carer day on 4 October on medicinal cannabis.
The subject remains a legal minefield with patients yet to see any meaningful benefit and prescriptions hard to access following its reclassification a year ago.
In November 2018 cannabis was reclassified under Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 following widespread acceptance of its medicinal value. Yet 12 months on, very few prescriptions have been issued by the NHS.
Clinical research and anecdotal data clearly points to medical cannabis being able to help patients suffering from a wide range of conditions from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s, Fibromyalgia to chronic pain which mesothelioma and lung cancer patients often experience. It can also help with the awful side effects of chemotherapy such as sickness. Yet patients still find it difficult to distinguish between products that are legal and those that have little or no benefit.
There are currently no licenced medicines available for GPs to prescribe who can only refer patients to General Medical Council specialists who can prescribe. Patients, however, have to demonstrate a clear unmet clinical need, and that can be a high bar to reach.
Patients can attend private ‘cannabis clinics’, but they are expensive, with consultations starting at around £200 and prescriptions costing up to £800 a month. That is clearly out of reach of those with chronic conditions. One year on, nothing has really changed.
There is an urgent need now for a medicinal cannabis system which is more responsive to patient needs, and in the medium term we call for a comprehensive review of the UK drugs policy with proper consideration being given to a legalised and regulated cannabis industry.
If you have any enquiries, please contact Jennifer Seavor on:
01225 459 991 Email us