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Medical cannabis

Government drugs advisory body to review impact of medical cannabis reschedule

The Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has been asked by the Home Office to begin a long-term review into cannabis-based products for medical use.

The review will assess the impact of medical cannabis being moved from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (MDR) 2001, and will also look at whether any further legislative amendments are needed.

In July 2018, the ACMD completed a short-term review of cannabis-derived medical products, which concluded that these products should be rescheduled because there was “evidence of medicinal benefit for some cannabis-derived products in certain medical conditions for some patients”. The legislative change came into force on 1 November 2018.

The short-term review recommended that synthetic cannabinoids remain in Schedule 1; because of the “associated potency and harms” associated with the use of some of these products — which include the street drugs ‘spice’ and ‘mamba’ — the ACMD concluded that it needed “further time to consider and consult on the unintended consequences of potential rescheduling”. The longer-term review will include an updated harms assessment and a consideration of whether synthetic cannabinoids should now be rescheduled.

The council has been asked to complete the review by November 2020.

In January 2019, three members of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society were appointed to the ACMD. Carole Hunter, Roger Knaggs and David Taylor will hold their posts for three years.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206180

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