You may already have seen in the news that medicinal cannabis will become available in the UK via prescription from doctors. This announcement by the government has been very welcomed by the 10,000 plus multiple sclerosis suffers across the country.
At the moment, any cannabis-based medicines are only allowed to be prescribed under very exceptional circumstances. Authorisation is needed to be granted by a medical panel before a patient can receive treatment. However, in a recent landmark change of direction, the Home Office is set to relax the current rules to allow more patients to benefit from cannabis-based medications.
In a move by current Home Secretary Sajid Javid, the prescription of cannabis-based medications will be approved within weeks, meaning that MS sufferers can benefit from treatment without having to source the medicinal plant illegally.
Alternative treatment options
Doctors and medical experts are hopeful that treating patients with cannabis-based medication will be a great alternative treatment option for their patients without having to resort to other more complex treatments first that can carry unpleasant side effects.
It is thought that anyone who suffers with chronic pain symptoms from severe illness such as MS, or from cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, will be in line to be prescribed cannabis-based medications first.
In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, Genevieve Edwards, from the MS Society, said that this change was very encouraging and was real progress for many thousands of MS sufferers who up until now had to either put up with relentless pain or risk breaking the law to obtain relief through using cannabis to ease their symptoms.
Long-running legal battle
There has been a very long-running campaign to legalise cannabis for medical use, but what has recently tipped the scales in favour of the patients wanting to use it was the case of Charlotte Caldwell’s son, Billy, when the Home Office granted a special dispensation for him to use medicinal cannabis oil to treat his condition.
Billy suffers from intractable epilepsy, which sees him suffering up to 100 seizures per day. Treating Billy with medical cannabis has virtually cured him of his symptoms, vastly improving his quality of life.
Regardless of the amazing effect that cannabis oil was having on Billy, his mother was told that her doctor had to stop giving Billy his life-saving medication. In desperation, Charlotte flew to Canada to stock up on the medicine because medical cannabis is legal there. Unfortunately, the drugs were confiscated back in the UK, leaving Billy at the mercy of his condition once his existing supply had run out.
Following on from her report to the media and Charlotte’s appeal for help, Sajid Javid used ‘an exceptional power’ as the Home Secretary to allow a licence to be issued so that Billy could benefit from the life-saving treatment.
Overjoyed by the news, Charlotte told the press that she was relieved and thankful that her boy could now have legal treatment for his life-threatening form of epilepsy.
This landmark decision from the government now means that many desperate families that have been fighting for years for the legalisation of cannabis-based medication can now seek out legal treatment to ease their pain