MEDICAL cannabis is now legal in Britain.
Here’s what we know about the government decision to allow marijuana for medical purposes.
Sajid Javid speaking in the House of Commons
Is medical cannabis legal in the UK?
On November 1, 2018, medical cannabis became available to patients in the UK on NHS prescription.
The drug will be available to patients across England, Wales and Scotland after the Government faced mounting pressure from campaigners.
Several high-profile cases thrust the debate into the limelight, after two young epilepsy sufferers were denied the supposed healing benefits of cannabis oil, said to help control seizures.
In the past, cannabis has been classed as a schedule one drug, meaning that it was thought to have no real therapeutic value.
The legal low-concentrate CBD oil is said to be beneficial for treating a number of complaints as well as promoting sleep, boosting appetite and reducing anxiety, stress and depression.
CBD cannabis oil is a substance extracted from the cannabis plant by steam distillation. It is usually consumed orally, and has a very distinct taste.
This low-concentrate version of the oil is available to buy in the UK and is not illegal.
Products are required to contain less than 0.05% THC.
THC (or Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component in cannabis that makes users feel “high”.
On January 28 it emerged that a legal cannabis farm was to open up in a secret location in the West Country.
When did the review into medical cannabis end?
Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced in July 2018 that the UK was to relax laws and make cannabis available on prescription for medicinal purposes.
It came after the government’s official drug advisers and the chief medical officer for England, Dame Sally Davies, separately concluded there was evidence of therapeutic benefit for some conditions.
The reviews followed news of a number of high-profile cases involving children being denied access to cannabis oil to control epileptic seizures.
Billy Caldwell, 12, who suffers from extreme seizures, had his cannabis oil medication seized at Heathrow Airport
The cases included those of Billy Caldwell, 12, and Alfie Dingley , six, who both suffer from forms of intractable epilepsy, which appears to be eased by the use of cannabis oil.
Announcing the changes, Javid said: “Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory.
“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.”
What has Sajid Javid said?
Announcing the changes in October 2018, Sajid Javid said: “This brings these products explicitly into the existing medicines framework. ‘These regulations are not an end in themselves.
“The ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) will be conducting a long-term review of cannabis and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has been commissioned to provide advice for clinicians by October next year.
‘The Government will monitor the impact of the policy closely as the evidence base develops and review when the ACMD provides its final advice.”
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In June Sajid told the House of Commons he had been deeply moved by the plight of young children such as Billy Caldwell who have been denied the drugs they need to stay healthy.
He said: “As a father, I know there is nothing worse than seeing your child suffer. You would do your utmost to alleviate their pain.
“That is why I have the upmost sympathy for Billy Caldwell, Alfie Dingley and others like them, and for their parents who have been under unimaginable stress and strain.
“I will do everything in my power to make sure that we have a system that works so that these children and these parents get access to the best medical treatment.”
Charlotte Caldwell and her son Billy send a video message thanking supporters after her son got back the medicinal cannabis oil she says have saved his life
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