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An Update on Medical Cannabis Prescribing in the UK

An Update on Medical Cannabis Prescribing in the UK

It is precisely observed that very few people in the UK are likely to get a prescription for using medical cannabis. Presently, medical cannabis can be prescribed for the conditions like-children and adults with rare and severe forms of epilepsy, and adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy.

The legalization of medical cannabis in the UK was declared in 2018. Is done specially for children suffering from unmanageable epilepsy being but denied the drug. Over the past two years, the number of patients who have received NHS prescriptions for licensed cannabis medicines is estimated to be very low.

It has been now for 2 years since the UK Government introduced a change in the law to enable the legal prescription of cannabis-based medical products (CBMPs) exclusively for the first time.But fewpoints haveinitiated a stronger debate among doctors, scientists, researchers, policymakers, and the public than medical cannabis.

In, November 2018, a reclassification took place which shifted cannabis-based products from Schedule 1-(a drug with no perceived therapeutic value) to Schedule 2 of the (Misuse of Drugs Regulations.) While initially the cannabis campaigners and patients celebrated. They believed that this will make the availability of cannabis medicine products easy but in reality, it has not been realized.

The Barriers to the NHS prescribing

The major difficulty is that the vast majority of CBMPs are unlicensed medicines but these have to be prescribed as ‘specials’. This signifies that it can only be prescribed by specialized doctors after all the existing licensed options and other off-label medications have been exhausted.

But there are other obstacles, such as prescribing is outside the normal expertise of the Doctors who have been taught little about cannabis and its medical products and the endocannabinoid system as part of conventional medical training.

It is also quite complex to prescribe such cannabis medical products, as the two main cannabis – cannabidiol or CBD (the non-psychoactive component) and tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (which produces the marijuana ‘high’) – can also be combined in many different ratios along with other minor cannabinoids and terpenes from the whole plant.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) CBMP guidelines

According to the NICE CBMP guidelines, the use of CBMPs can be used in four specific conditions and their recommendations are as follows:

Spasticity – THC/CBD oromucosal spray Sativex (a licensed medicine) can be given.

Nausea and vomiting- Nabilone (a licensed synthetic cannabinoid that mimics THC) can be considered for treating adults with intractable chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Severe treatment-resistant epilepsy – licensed CBD medicine Epidyolex is recommended to treat severe epilepsy.

Chronic pain –Only CBD is allowable if it is part of a clinical trial.

Thus, there are updates on Medical Cannabis Prescribing in the UK. It is indeed to be strictly followed for prescribing and using cannabis-based medical products.

When conventional treatments reach their limit, our work begins.

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