Medicinal Cannabis

APPG Report ‘Accessing Medicinal Cannabis: Meeting Patient’sNeeds’ – Report of the Inquiry of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform into medicinal cannabis: (click for report


‘Cannabis: The Evidence forMedical Use’ by Professor Michael P Barnes MD FRCP Honorary Professor ofNeurological Rehabilitation, Newcastle University and Dr Jennifer C BarnesDPsychol Clinical Psychologist, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS FoundationTrust (click for report)

The APPG Report launched on the 13th September emphatically calls on the UK government to legalise medical cannabis based on the results of their 7 month inquiry into the issue and on the findings of an independent review of global evidence commissioned by them that ran alongside the Inquiry.

Regulating Cannabis for Medical Use in the UK

A  Report by Britain’s top expert on medicinal cannabis, was issued by the APPG 16th June 2015 as a contribution to the debate on drug policy. The Report sets out The Medical and Financial Case for Reform

Professor Val Curran and co-author with Frank Warburton, argue that patients are suffering unnecessarily and others in great pain are travelling abroad to find the cannabis they need to ease their symptoms.  All this could change by moving cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2, thus recognising the medicinal value of the drug.  Such a change would also free up research and lead to new medicines for chronic pain, and disease.

Patients with long term conditions like multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage, epilepsy, chronic neuropathic pain, chronic pain following shingles, the side effects of chemotherapy for cancer, and other severe health problems are currently being denied effective treatment in the UK.  There are also emerging indications of the use of CBD (a key ingredient of cannabis) to alleviate mental health conditions including social anxiety disorder, the symptoms of schizophrenia and PTSD.

The medical uses of cannabis are not recognised in the UK, as symbolised by the inclusion of cannabis in Schedule 1.   And yet products with the same pharmaceutical ingredients as cannabis are placed in Schedule 2.  These include Dronabinol and Sativex.   Dronabinol has never been licensed and Sativex has only been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency as an extra treatment for patients with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.


Sativex the only cannabis derivative available legally in the UK, is very expensive (£7,500 per year).   Whereas Bediol, a good cannabis medicine, (which is not legally available in the UK) would cost £1,062.15 per year.   The result is that few MS patients have access to a cannabis based medicine and suffer unnecessarily.  Other patients with chronic diseases which could be helped have no access to cannabis based medicines at all.

Other Countries which regulate the medical use of cannabis and cannabis derivatives.

Canada, the Netherlands, Israel and over 20 States in the US regulate herbal cannabis for medical use.   A number of EU Countries including Germany and Switzerland enable patients to import cannabis for medical use from the Netherlands.

There is no evidence that re-scheduling cannabis would lead to the diversion of supplies into the illicit recreational market

Heroin is already in schedule 2.   Its medicinal value is recognised in the UK.   There is no evidence of significant diversion of heroin for medical supplies into the illicit recreational market.   Cannabis as a schedule 2 substance would continue to be subject to strict controls via medical regulation.  Appropriate use would therefore be assured.

Read the Report 

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