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Officials advise ‘patience’ as cannabis dispensing service launches on Isle of Man

Officials have advised ‘patience’ as the service gets up and running after months of delays.

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Patients can have their cannabis prescriptions fulfilled locally for the first time. Photo by Tbel Abuseridze on Unsplash.

Patients from the Isle of Man can now have their cannabis prescriptions fulfilled locally after several months of delays.

As of Thursday 1 December, patients with a private prescription for Cannabis Based Products for Medicinal use (CBPMs) are able to have their prescription fulfilled on the Isle of Man, through Karsons Pharmacy in Onchan.

The Island’s first medicinal cannabis dispensing service was due to be up and running by the end of summer, but has been delayed by several months.

In October, the Department of Health and Social Care blamed ‘unforeseen technical issues’ in its negotiations with the UK Home Office for the delay.

Cannabis-based medicines are not available on the NHS on the Island, but patients can access the treatment through CQC registered private clinics, prescribed by a medical practitioner on the specialist register, as elsewhere in the UK.

Earlier this year, the family-run Karsons Pharmacy, was awarded a licence for the importation and dispensing of cannabis-based products on the Island.

Patients with prescriptions can now take them to be fulfilled by Karsons, however, officials have warned that initially it could take up to 10 working days between the pharmacy receiving the prescription and the medication arriving on the Island.

The DHSC said in a statement that it hopes this time will reduce once the service becomes ‘established’.

Minister for Health and Social Care, Lawrie Hooper MHK, expressed his own ‘frustration’ at the delays and urged people to demonstrate ‘continued patience’ while the service gets up and running. 

“I’m really pleased that we’re now in position to launch this important service,” he commented.

“I’d like to thank the public for their patience while it has been set up, the Department and Karsons have been working hard to get everything in place and we’ve shared the frustration at delays which have now been resolved.

We’d like to ask patients for their continued patience in the opening weeks of the service while the service embeds. I would encourage patients to read through our FAQs and familiarise themselves with the advice and guidance around the use of these products.”

The licence to provide this service has been awarded by the Department of Health and Social Care to Karsons Pharmacy, and will allow them to operate the service as a pilot for a minimum of 12 months to collect data that evidences need and demand to shape future service provision on the Island.

Patients are encouraged to contact Karsons Pharmacy if they have any further questions. Guidance videos have also been created to provide practical advice and considerations for patients. These will be available online alongside a set of Frequently Asked Questions.

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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