Medical cannabis has been legal to access in the United Kingdom since November 2018. Specific cannabis-based products are available on prescription from private clinics for patients suffering from conditions including epilepsy, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. The government has no intention of legalising cannabis for recreational use, and here’s all you need to know about the Weed Laws UK.
- Medical cannabis is available on prescription for specific conditions in the UK.
- It is not legal for recreational use.
- Prescriptions are only given when other treatments have been exhausted.
- The government has no plans to relax the laws on cannabis.
Can I get a prescription for medical cannabis?
You can get a prescription for medical cannabis in the UK if you meet the requirements set out by the guidance. Before a specialist doctor can prescribe medical cannabis, a patient must have tried two or more medicines for their condition, which haven’t been right. The medical cannabis prescribed by doctors often comes in the form of dry cannabis flowers but can also be prescribed in oil or tincture form, with CBPM vape products also entering the market at the time of writing.
With years of specialised training and a deep understanding of the medical cannabis landscape, the doctors at clinics like Releaf are not only fully equipped to assess individual patient conditions, but are also well-versed in navigating the complexities of UK regulations, ensuring you receive the most effective and safest treatment possible.
Since medical cannabis is only prescribed for specific conditions, patients must undergo a thorough assessment by a specialist doctor. This assessment helps to determine whether medical cannabis is a suitable treatment option and whether the potential benefits outweigh any potential risks.
It is important to note that medical cannabis is not a first-line treatment and is typically considered when other therapeutic options have been exhausted. The decision to prescribe medical cannabis is based on the specialist doctor’s clinical judgement and the patient’s specific medical needs.
What conditions can medical cannabis help with?
Medical cannabis has shown potential benefits in treating various conditions. It is important to note that the suitability of medical cannabis as a treatment is assessed on a case-by-case basis by a specialist doctor.
You may be prescribed medical cannabis in the UK privately for the following conditions as long as you have tried at least two other medicines for your condition:
Associated with Pain
- Back and neck pain
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes (EDS)
- Joint pain
- Musculoskeletal pain (MSK)
- Neuropathic pain or nerve pain
For Neurological Conditions
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cluster headaches
- Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)
- Motor Neurone Disease (MND)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscle spasms
- Parkinson’s disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
For Psychiatric Conditions
- Appetite disorders like Anorexia
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Insomnia or sleep disorders
- Major Depressive Disorder (Depression)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social anxiety disorder or social phobia
- Substance Use Disorder
For Gastrointestinal Conditions
- Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Associated with Cancer
- Cancer-related anxiety
- Cancer-related appetite loss
- Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
- Cancer-related depression
- Cancer-related pain
For Palliative Care
- Palliative care pain
- Palliative care anxiety
Some other Conditions
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or ME
- Restless legs syndrome
One of the main conditions for which medical cannabis is being prescribed is chronic pain. It has been used to alleviate pain associated with conditions such as back pain, cancer pain, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis pain, and sciatica. However, it is crucial to consult a specialist doctor to determine the right treatment approach and dosage for each individual.
It is worth mentioning that medical cannabis should not be seen as a cure-all solution and may not be suitable for everyone. Each patient’s condition is unique, and the decision to use medical cannabis should be made in consultation with a specialist doctor who can assess the potential risks and benefits based on individual circumstances. Additionally, alternative treatments should also be considered before medical cannabis is prescribed.
How Do I Get a Prescription for Medical Cannabis?
Obtaining a prescription for medical cannabis in the UK is possible directly from your local GP. Medical cannabis can normally only be prescribed by a specialist doctor via a private clinic. To be referred to a specialist who has the authority to prescribe cannabis-based medicines, first, obtain your summary care record from your GP dated back as long as you need to show two or more medicines prescribed to treat the same condition.
Medical cannabis is not a first-line treatment option in the UK, and doctors will be able to provide you with the necessary information and support to navigate the system and potentially access medical cannabis if deemed appropriate for your condition.
|Steps to Obtain a Prescription for Medical Cannabis
|1. Contact your GP to obtain your Summary Care Record (SCR)
|2. Book an appointment with a cannabis clinic
|3. Have an appointment with a specialist doctor
|4. If you qualify based on the information above (qualifying condition and have tried two or more medicines) you can be prescribed medical cannabis
How do I prove I have a prescription for medical cannabis?
To prove that you have a prescription for medical cannabis, there are a few things you can do to ensure you have the necessary documentation. First and foremost, keeping the medicine in its original packaging with the dispensing label intact is important. This will serve as evidence that the cannabis is legally prescribed to you.
In addition to the packaging, keeping a copy of the prescription is advisable. This can be a physical copy or a digital version, as long as it contains the necessary information, such as the name of the prescribing doctor, the date of the prescription, and the details of the cannabis product prescribed.
Furthermore, having a letter from the prescribing doctor can provide additional confirmation of the prescription. The letter should state that the cannabis has been prescribed to you and may include any relevant information about your condition or treatment plan. Keeping a copy of this letter alongside the prescription can help further prove that you have a valid prescription for medical cannabis.
Acceptable forms of identification may also be required to match the details on the dispensing label, prescription, or doctor’s letter. This can include a photo ID such as a driver’s licence or passport.
|Original packaging with dispensing label
|Provides evidence of legal prescription
|Copy of the prescription
|Letter from a prescribing doctor
|Letter from the prescribing doctor
|Additional confirmation of the prescription
|Acceptable forms of identification
|Matches details on documentation
Will the laws on cannabis be relaxed?
The current weed laws in the UK strictly prohibit the recreational use of cannabis. This means that possessing cannabis for any purpose, including medical use, is illegal unless it has been prescribed to you by a specialist doctor. The government has made it clear that there is no intention to legalise cannabis for recreational use.
Under the current drug policy in England and Wales, cannabis is classified as a Class B drug, carrying penalties for possession and supply. The legal status of cannabis in Scotland closely mirrors that of England and Wales, while in Northern Ireland, penalties for possessing cannabis can be more severe.
Despite the growing cannabis legalisation movement in the United Kingdom and the ongoing debate around marijuana legislation, there is no immediate plan to relax the laws on cannabis in the UK. Any drug classification or law changes in the UK would require significant legislative processes.
Therefore, individuals must understand the current drug policy and abide by the existing laws. Possessing cannabis, even for medical purposes, without a prescription from a specialist doctor can lead to serious legal consequences.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
No, medicinal cannabis is not legal in the UK for recreational use. It can only be prescribed by a specialist doctor for specific conditions.
Yes – the vast majority of patients have private medical cannabis prescriptions
Medical cannabis may be beneficial for chronic pain in some cases, and is prescribed for conditions such as back pain, cancer pain, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis pain, and sciatica. Suitability for medical cannabis is assessed on a case-by-case basis by a specialist doctor.
Medical cannabis risks can be considered low when compared to other prescription medicines, with less risks and side effects.
Medical cannabis cannot be obtained from a general practitioner (GP). It can only be prescribed by a specialist doctor. The steps above illustrate how to obtain a cannabis prescription in the UK.
To prove that you have a prescription for medical cannabis, you should keep the medicine in its original packaging with the dispensing label. It is also advisable to keep a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing doctor. Acceptable forms of ID may be required to match the details on the dispensing label and the prescription or doctor’s letter.
The UK government still has no intention of legalising cannabis for recreational use. Possessing cannabis for any purpose, including medical use, is still illegal unless it has been prescribed for you by a specialist doctor.