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Neurological conditions

Cannabis on the NHS: a missed opportunity? (audio)

It may have disappeared from newspaper front pages, but medical cannabis is still causing controversy. 


Recently, it emerged that Billy Caldwell — the young boy who sparked a change in the law over medical cannabis — had received an NHS prescription for cannabis oil to treat his severe epilepsy.

However, two years after its legalisation, Billy is only one of a handful of patients who have received an NHS prescription for whole-plant medical cannabis in the UK. This is despite many thousands of patients using cannabis for medical reasons around the world. 

In this podcast, we look at new evidence suggesting why so few patients are receiving NHS prescriptions for medical cannabis and whether this may change any time soon.

We speak with Matt Hughes, the father of Charlie, who has been refused medical cannabis on the NHS for his son’s epilepsy, and is challenging this in court; Mike Barnes, a neurologist who runs several private medical cannabis clinics; and Janine Barnes, a specialist pharmacist who was a member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s clinical guideline development group for medical cannabis.

This episode was presented by Corrinne Burns and Nigel Praities. It was produced by Geoff Marsh.

Follow us on Spotify or Apple Podcasts to hear the latest podcasts.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208625

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