Two Cannabis-based Medicines Approved but Other Sufferers Left in Limbo

Two cannabis-based medicines used to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis has been approved for use by NHS England. The move is a welcome step forward following repeated campaigns by the families of two children, Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley. The guidelines approved by NICE will help MS and epilepsy sufferers but any cannabis medicine that contains active THC as a painkiller – remains banned. Many charities say thousands of people have been left in limbo, Need2Know Books explains why.

Change in the law in 2018 made it legal for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis however many GPs have still been reluctant to do so, citing a lack of clear guidance. NICE, the drugs advisory body, has stated, “People with chronic pain should not be prescribed drugs containing THC, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.” These restrictions leave thousands of people with a range of conditions in limbo.

The Essential Guide to Cannabis by Need2Know Books helps to demystify the stigmas that surround cannabis. It includes chapters covering risks and addiction; the legal status of cannabis and a comprehensive guide for parents. Whether the reader is a ‘user’, ‘concerned parent’, ‘teacher’ or just an ‘interested party’ the book covers all aspects of cannabis use in easy to understand language.

Cannabis is widely available in the UK. It can be bought on almost every street corner albeit, illegally. The 2018 change in law recognised, after much campaigning, that there is conclusive evidence of medicinal benefit for patients who use cannabis-based medicines containing both THC and cannabidiol (CBD).

Clinical trials for Children with epilepsy have shown the oral solution, which contains cannabidiol (CBD), could reduce the number of seizures by up to 40%. Unfortunately this evidence has been ignored and those who suffer with pain, MS, epilepsy and a range of conditions are forced to buy from abroad which is expensive and risks a criminal record.

Missie Hinton, from the campaign End Our Pain, said, “This restrictive guidance is condemning many patients to having to pay for life-transforming medicine privately, to go without or to consider accessing illegal and unregulated sources.”

“It is particularly devastating that there is no positive recommendation that the NHS should allow prescribing of whole-plant medical cannabis containing both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC in appropriate cases of intractable childhood epilepsy,” she said.

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