Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


Government gives green light for medical cannabis to be legalised by autumn 2018

The government will now decide which cannabis-derived medicines will be given Schedule 2 status, before the regulations come into force in autumn 2018.

Sajid Javid, home secretary

Source: Shutterstock

Sajid Javid said recent cases of children being denied cannabis oil to treat severe epilepsy made it clear that the government’s position on medical cannabis was unsatisfactory

GPs across the UK will be able to prescribe cannabis-derived medicines by the autumn, home secretary Sajid Javid has announced.

Javid said he will relax the laws around the availability of the products following separate recommendations from Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which makes recommendations to the government on the control of dangerous or otherwise harmful drugs.

The decision follows high-profile cases earlier in 2018 of young children with severe epilepsy being denied cannabis oil which parents, supported by doctors, said helped control their seizures.

On 26 July 2018, Javid said that cannabis-derived medicinal products would now be given Schedule 2 status under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, which recognises their potential medicinal benefit and allows them to be prescribed.

The new regulation is expected to be in place by autumn 2018.

In a statement, 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 advisors, 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 Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the UK drugs safety watchdog, and the Department of Health and Social Care will now decide which cannabis-derived medicines should be rescheduled before the regulations are amended.

The government has reiterated that the move does not pave the way towards legalising cannabis for recreational use and that the penalties for unauthorised supply and possession will remain unchanged.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205241

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • BNF and BNF for Children

    BNF and BNF for Children

    Now available as a 1 year print subscription to both the BNF and BNFC, ensuring you have the latest medicines information as it publishes and at a greatly reduced price.

    £138.50Buy now
  • BNF and BNF for Children

    BNF and BNF for Children

    Now available as a 2 year print subscription to both the BNF and BNFC, ensuring you have the latest medicines information as it publishes and at a greatly reduced price.

    £262.50Buy now
  • Pharmaceutical Toxicology

    Pharmaceutical Toxicology

    Explains the methodology and requirements of pre-clinical safety assessments of new medicines. Includes registration requirements and pharmacovigilance.

    £40.00Buy now
  • Strategic Medicines Management

    Strategic Medicines Management

    A practical guide to influencing the availability of medicines, and policies of their use. Focuses on the strategic elements of medicines management.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Complete Guide to Medical Writing (The)

    Complete Guide to Medical Writing (The)

    Effectively communicate scientific and medical information with The Complete Guide to Medical Writing.

    £27.00Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • Sajid Javid, home secretary

Jobs you might like

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.