The use of cannabis based medicines were approved this week by the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales. This is a monumental step in the cannabis sphere, potentially changing the lives of many in the years to come.
The go ahead was given on 3 different treatments for various conditions. This comes just a year after the then British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, made allowances for some doctors to prescribe cannabis for certain conditions.
Although the current allowances are still rather limited, cannabis medicine will be provided as treatments for rare forms of childhood epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, or circumstances involving chemotherapy side effects. All instances where cannabis has shown some serious potential in limiting side effects and symptoms of these conditions.
Medical cannabis can still only be initially prescribed by specialist doctors, as clearly stated by the institute. These allowances have been put into immediate effect in England and Wales, with Northern Ireland still on the fence with this matter. Scotland on the other hand, have their own healthcare guidelines and limitations, yet to open their eyes to cannabis as a medicine.
The announcement is seen as a massive step in the eyes of many UK citizens. Those battling with rare treatment resistant conditions will now have easier access to a medication that really works. In a space where cannabis is still largely stigmatised and hasn’t made much headway in terms of legalities, it is an opportunity for cannabis to show why it deserves to be considered as a reliable and effective treatment option.
Two medical cases took the UK by storm in 2018, pushing the powers at hand to make these changes. In June last year, the cannabis based medicine of 12 year old Billy Caldwell was confiscated at Heathrow Airport. Putting this young boys life at risk due to the severity of his seizures, which are most effectively managed with cannabis.
The grey areas around these laws are changing so that the boys observed in these cases may have access to the only form of medication that helps them live their lives in the most ‘normal’ way possible.
With these ongoing cases and allowances, the necessary research will be conducted on a regular basis. It’s time for the plant to prove to the UK just what it can do and why it doesn’t deserve to be hidden away. It’s a massive leap for cannabis in the UK and another promising step for the cannabis industry as it looks to become commonplace.
If you ain’t chokin’, you ain’t tokin’
– Stoner Steve