Medical cannabis was legalised in the UK by the Home Office in November 2018; yet only a handful of patients have managed to access it.
There is conclusive or substantial evidence that medical cannabis may be of benefit for several medical conditions including drug resistant epilepsy, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and nausea in cancer-related chemotherapy.
While not a first line treatment, medicinal cannabis may be useful where patients have exhausted all other treatment options.
But uptake among the UK medical community has been slow as many professionals are simply not educated or trained to use medical cannabis as a treatment option.
Prescribing has been limited to specialists only. We need to give GPs the ability to prescribe medicinal cannabis in the UK.
GPs are well placed to prescribe, as they are trained to monitor chronically ill patients, they see them regularly and are able to monitor their patients’ after care.
In the case of patients suffering from chronic pain, GPs are already allowed to prescribe a large array of other pharmaceutical options such as opioids.
Meanwhile, there is a good economic argument that if medical cannabis has the potential to keep chronically ill patients out of hospital, then it could be cash flow-positive for the NHS.
Medical Choices UK was set up to provide much-needed education to health professionals about medicinal cannabis and advocate for its use as a treatment option.
We are running a series of scientific educational seminars across the country in September including on the following dates:
- London Monday 16 September 2019 6.30-9pm for medical professionals www.mcuk1.eventbrite.ca
- Manchester Wednesday 18 September 2019 6.30-9pm for medical professionals www.mcuk3.eventbrite.ca
- London – Thursday 19 September 2019 6.30-9pm for patients and carers www.mcuk4.eventbrite.ca
We have a number of qualified speakers including pharmacists, doctors, researchers, patient advocates and a cannabis economist.Visit www.mcuk.orgfor more details.
Sharlene Mavor is education coordinator / medical scientist at Medical Choices UK.
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