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Government confirms plans to legalise medicinal cannabis

CANNABIS DECISION: The home secretary has announced that doctors in the UK will be permitted to prescribe cannabis-derived medicinal products

DOCTORS IN the UK will be able to legally prescribe medicinal products containing ingredients derived from cannabis, the home secretary has announced today.

Sajid Javid has been under pressure to legalise the use of cannabis-derived medicines following a number of high profile cases involving children.

Individual allowances had been made for some families to be permitted to use cannabis oil but campaigners had been calling for a blanket decision and one that meant patients who needed the drug for medical reasons would not face prosecution.

Under the new measures announced by the home secretary, specialist clinicians will be legally authorised to prescribe cannabis-derived medicinal products.

The decision was made following a review of the products commissioned by the home secretary. Professor Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical adviser, found there is evidence to support the therapeutic benefits of medicinal cannabis.

Javid said: “Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory. That is why we launched a review and set up an expert panel to advise on licence applications in exceptional circumstances.

“Following advice from two sets of independent advisers, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products – meaning they will be available on prescription. This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need, but is in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.”

The government has said that the announcement does not pave the way towards legalising recreational use of cannabis.

On Twitter, Javid said: “Making medicinal cannabis available on prescription will benefit the lives of ill patients currently suffering in silence. There is nothing harder than seeing your loved ones in pain – which is why I have taken this decision.”

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