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Accessing Medicinal Cannabis in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide

Accessing Medicinal Cannabis in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide
Accessing Medicinal Cannabis in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide

In the United Kingdom, it became possible to prescribe cannabis as a medicine not licensed for use after a modification in the law by the government in 2018. Doctors who specialise in certain medical conditions and are registered with the General Medical Council now have the legal authority to prescribe Cannabis Based Medicinal Products (CBMP).

Currently, general practitioners are not permitted to issue prescriptions for CBMPs; however, they have the option to refer patients to a private specialist if they believe it is in the patient’s best interest.

In order for specialist doctors to be able to prescribe cannabis products to patients, they must adhere to specific criteria established by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) as mandated by the Home Office.

Currently, the National Health Service specialist doctors are not authorised to issue prescriptions for cannabis products unless the patient’s condition is exceptionally severe, as NICE has not granted them permission to do so.

The ailments that the NHS will provide prescriptions for include:

●  Forms of epilepsy that are of a severe nature and show positive response to cannabinoids.

●  Nausea or vomiting induced by chemotherapy

●  Muscular rigidity or spasticity resulting from multiple sclerosis (MS)

The criteria for meeting the requirements for a lawful private cannabis prescription.

Private healthcare facilities and cannabis retail outlets in the United Kingdom have the authority to provide prescriptions for cannabis-related products intended to address a broader spectrum of medical conditions. Expert physicians have the ability to issue private prescriptions under certain circumstances.

●  The healthcare provider holds the belief that it is in the patient’s best interest.

●  A licensed medical or healthcare professional confirms the patient’s diagnosis of a qualifying medical condition.

●  The individual has experimented with a minimum of two traditional pharmaceutical medications but has not achieved the desired outcome.

Individuals who often receive prescriptions for cannabis-based medications are individuals with common ailments such as:

Individuals who frequently receive private prescriptions for cannabis-based medications typically suffer from the following medical conditions:

  • The condition of anorexia
  • Feelings of unease or apprehension
  • Inflammation of the joints
  • Respiratory condition characterised by breathing difficulties
  • A neurological condition characterised by challenges in social interaction and communication, often accompanied by repetitive behaviours and limited interests.
  • Spinal issues
  • Malignant neoplasms
  • Nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy
  • Long-lasting pain
  • Persistent inflammation
  • Persistent Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Inflammation of the colon
  • Chronic inflammatory bowel disease
  • Mental state characterised by persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  • The condition known as diverticulitis
  • Abnormal muscle movement disorder
  • Management of epilepsy/seizures
  • Chronic widespread pain
  • Shoulder with limited mobility due to stiffness
  • A condition known as gout
  • Episodes of severe headaches
  • The ceasing of menstruation in women, commonly known as menopause.
  • Pain caused by nerve damage
  • Nerve disorders
  • End-of-life care
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Ailment
  • Muscle pain and stiffness
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Chronic inflammatory arthritis
  • Joint inflammation
  • Disruptions in sleep patterns
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Involuntary shaking or trembling

Medical conditions that are not within the purview of a specialist physician to prescribe for

Specialist doctors are presently unable to prescribe medications for certain conditions, primarily pertaining to psychiatric disorders. This restriction is due to compelling evidence indicating that the usage of THC can exacerbate these conditions, making the prescription of cannabis-based medicines potentially detrimental to the patient’s well-being.

  • A mental health condition characterised by a disconnection from reality, commonly referred to as schizophrenia.
  • Mental disorder characterised by a loss of contact with reality
  • Manic-Depressive Illness

This list is not comprehensive, and it is always advisable to consult with your doctor before modifying your treatment plan in relation to your mental health diagnosis.

Effective communication with medical professionals regarding the topic of cannabis

Patients who have no prior experience with cannabis might experience uncertainty resulting from a limited comprehension of the legislation, available medication types, and proper usage protocols. Specialist physicians who prescribe cannabis possess extensive expertise in specialised medical fields along with training in the prescription of cannabis-based medicinal products.

Patients are advised to pose a multitude of inquiries in order to obtain comprehensive knowledge regarding cannabis as a potential treatment. If patients feel at any moment during the thirty-minute consultation that cannabis medications are unsuitable, it may impede their progress with obtaining a cannabis prescription.

A significant portion of individuals in the UK who meet the criteria for a legal medicinal cannabis prescription have already experimented with cannabis and are aware of its efficacy in managing their condition. It is strongly advised for patients who possess prior experience with cannabis to communicate this information to their specialised medical practitioner.

Information such as strain names, dosage frequency, and the specific symptom relief experienced by patients can provide valuable insights for doctors when suggesting appropriate strains from the available options for various conditions.

Is it necessary for me to possess a medical cannabis card in order for a doctor in the UK to issue a prescription?

No medical cannabis card is required to receive a prescription for cannabis-based medicinal products from a doctor in the UK. Suppose you decide to be treated by Releaf as your medical cannabis clinic. In that case, you will receive a photo ID card with a QR code linking to a digital record of your prescription history.

In contrast to the availability of medical marijuana in the USA, the UK follows a more rigorously regulated system for medical cannabis that imposes stricter limitations on prescribing and production.

Are UK physicians authorised to provide private prescriptions for CBD (cannabidiol)?

In the UK, medical practitioners who authorise the use of cannabis-based medications have the authority to prescribe cannabidiol. Specialised doctors in the UK may prescribe CBD not only for inflammation-related ailments but also to manage seizures, spasms, and tremors.

Cannabidiol (CBD) prescriptions are available as either floral products or CBD oil tinctures. Should you desire a prescription for cannabidiol, it is necessary to consult with a specialised physician beforehand. The eligibility assessment will notify you if you qualify for medical cannabinoids.

Is it possible to obtain a prescription for medical cannabis to treat autism in the UK?

Indeed, individuals who have been diagnosed with autism as adults may potentially meet the requirements for a medical cannabis prescription. However, it is necessary to have attempted two treatments in order to fulfil the criteria for eligibility.

Is it possible to obtain a prescription for medical cannabis to treat arthritis in the United Kingdom?

In the United Kingdom, it is feasible to obtain a medical cannabis prescription for arthritis. To qualify, you must possess an official diagnosis of the condition and have experimented with two unsuccessful medications, therapies, or treatments aimed at alleviating your symptoms.  

Is the use of medical cannabis permitted in the United Kingdom under legal regulations?

In the United Kingdom, medical cannabis has been lawful since November 1st, 2018. Qualified doctors who are recognized by the General Medical Council can issue prescriptions through private clinics. We provide an exclusive comprehensive medical cannabis prescription bundle, ensuring a seamless and straightforward experience throughout your quest.

In brief

It is crucial to bear in mind that the unique requirements of each patient are assessed on an individual basis. Engaging in a conversation with a specialised physician who has the authority to prescribe cannabis-derived medicinal products provides the optimal avenue for determining whether such a prescription may be suitable for addressing a specific condition or set of symptoms.

Do not allow the negative associations linked to medicinal cannabis hinder you from obtaining appropriate therapy. Releaf offers personalised monthly bundles, expert consultations pertaining to medical cannabis, and an exclusive medical cannabis card for safeguarding, all in accordance with your prescribed medical cannabis regimen.