British Interior Minister Sajid Javid announced on Thursday (July 26th) that therapeutic cannabis would be allowed in the UK on prescription starting in the fall, but also admits that the decision is not a step towards general legalization of Marijuana.
Britain’s Interior Minister announced Thursday (July 26th) that therapeutic cannabis will be allowed in the UK on prescription starting in the fall. “This will help patients with specific medical needs but this is by no means a first step towards the legalization of recreational cannabis,” Javid said in a statement.
The Minister based the decision on the results of studies conducted by two different entities of independent experts. The first concluded that there was sufficient evidence that medical cannabis had therapeutic interests. The second advocates that doctors should be able to prescribe therapeutic cannabis.
“Making therapeutic cannabis available on prescription will improve the lives of patients who are currently suffering in silence – there is nothing more difficult than seeing loved ones suffer, which is why I made this decision”, justifies again the British Minister on Twitter. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will now clearly define what constitutes a cannabis drug. Other forms of cannabis will be strictly controlled and will not be available on prescription.
In Europe, countries such as Germany, Austria, Finland and Italy have already legalized therapeutic cannabis. Recently, Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said that medical cannabis could also happen in France. Currently, only one cannabinoid drug has a French marketing authorization: Sativex, recommended against spasticity and multiple sclerosis.
In January 2017, the American Academy of Sciences reported that some cannabinoids can help reduce nausea in chemotherapy patients, reduce chronic pain, and reduce the symptoms of people with multiple sclerosis. Cautiously, the Academy also pointed to an association between cannabis use and schizophrenia.
Since then, concerning the management of non-cancer chronic pain, a recent, unprecedented study published by The Lancet has shown that cannabis is not effective. Recruitment of the cohort took place from August 13, 2012 to April 8, 2014. 1514 participants were asked, among other things, about the origins and duration of chronic pain, cannabis use over the course of life, and the 12 last month, opioid use and the existence or not of general depressive or anxiety disorders.
After four years of follow-up, 295 participants (24%) had used cannabis to relieve pain. Compared to people who did not use cannabis, the researchers found that participants who had used cannabis had “a higher pain severity score”. “We have found no evidence that cannabis use has reduced the use of prescribed opioids or increased opioid abandonment rates,” the scientists concluded.