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Medical Cannabis Awareness Week returns to mark 5th anniversary of law change

What to expect as MCAW returns to the UK for its third year running.



Medical Cannabis Awareness Week returns to the UK from 1-7 November.

Medical Cannabis Awareness Week is set to take place again as the UK marks the fifth anniversary of the landmark law change in November 2018.

Originally launched by patient advocacy group PLEA (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) in 2020, Medical Cannabis Awareness Week (MCAW) will take place for the third time from 1 – 7 November.

Established to mark the anniversary of the legalisation of medical cannabis in the UK on 1 November 2018, MCAW gives advocates the opportunity to call for change and raise awareness of the key issues impacting patients and the wider sector.

Previous years have seen discussions take place around the need for improved quality, better regulations, and wider access to prescription cannabis on the NHS. 

Taking the reins this year, the Cannabis Industry Council (CIC) has launched a new website for the awareness week, including event listings, details on how patients can share their stories, and how to raise awareness of medical cannabis.

The fifth anniversary comes as recent data has revealed there are still fewer than five patients prescribed unlicensed cannabis-based medicines through the NHS, while over 140,000 private prescriptions were issued between November 2018 – November 2022. 

Co-chairs of the CIC, Dr Callie Seaman and Jamie Bartley, commented: “The fifth birthday of Medical Cannabis Awareness Week is a bittersweet milestone. While we should rightly celebrate the legalisation of medical cannabis, which has transformed lives, there is much more to do.

“There are around 1.8 million people obtaining cannabis for medical reasons from the illicit market, while stigma still remains across society, in areas such as housing, employment, and the justice system.”

What to expect this year

Industry networking

As part of MCAW, the CIC is holding a Member Conference on Thursday 2 November in London. 

This will include updates from the CIC’s working group, and a workshop session. This will be followed by networking with The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, hosted by Gowling WLG and sponsored by A2W Pharma.

Chair of the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, Dr Leon Barron stated: “MCAW is a reminder of the continued efforts that are required to help educate doctors and the wider professional health care community on the endocannabinoid system and the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis.

“Unfortunately, unlike other plant-based medicines such as opioids which are widely prescribed and integrated into mainstream clinical practice, there is still a lot of stigma to overcome and “un-learning” that is needed when it comes to cannabis-based medicines. 

“The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society believes that everyone who could benefit from medical cannabis should have access to it through the NHS and provides doctors with high quality education, training and expert support to become confident prescribers of these important and effective medicines.”

Patient conference returns for second year 

Following a successful inaugural event, Drug Science and Medcan Family Foundation will also host the second Medical Cannabis Patient Conference on Friday 3 November in London, in collaboration with CIC. Tickets start from £5 and are available for those attending in-person and online. Find out more and get tickets here

Drug Science, head of projects and communications, Mags Houston said: “Drug Science is thrilled to be leading the organisation of the second UK Patient Conference this year for Medical Cannabis Awareness Week with the support of various cannabis industry partners.

“The challenge for us remains: how do we burst outside of the industry bubble? Reaching those audiences still affected by many decades of stigma, people who are not currently considering whole plant cannabis as the medicine we know it is – they are the people we hope will take notice of what we have to say during Medical Cannabis Awareness Week this year.”

Medcan Family Foundation co-founder / director,  Matt Hughes, added: “The Medcan Family Foundation is delighted to announce our continued partnership with Drug Science for the second consecutive year, as we jointly present the UK Patient Conference during Medical Cannabis Awareness Week.

“Our mission is to persist in elevating awareness, amplifying the voices of patients who have experienced its benefits, and facilitating difficult discussions to dismantle the prevailing stigma. Through these efforts, we aim to broaden our reach, particularly among those who may remain unaware that cannabis can be prescribed as a viable treatment for a wide spectrum of medical conditions.”

If you are hosting an event or webinar during MCAW and would like it to be listed on the CIC website, please submit details to

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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 titles, Cannabis Wealth 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 / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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