Specialist doctors will be able to prescribe patients cannabis-based medicines later this year, the government has revealed.
The decision to relax the rules around medicinal cannabis will help patients with an exceptional clinical need, said Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
Government departments will now work to define exactly what constitutes a âcannabis-derived medical productâ, as only products meeting that definition will be available on prescriptions.
All other forms of cannabis will be kept under strict controls, and wonât be available on prescription.
Relaxing the rules around medical cannabis doesnât pave the way toward legalising cannabis for recreational use, added the Home Office.
âRecent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory,â said Javid.
âThat is why we launched a review and set up an expert panel to advise on licence applications in exceptional circumstances.
âFollowing advice from two sets of independent advisers, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products â meaning they will be available on prescription.
âThis will help patients with an exceptional clinical need, but is in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.â
The decision came after Chief Medical Advisor, Dame Sally Davies, said there was evidence that medicinal cannabis had therapeutic effects.
CBD oil is currently legal in the UK, as long as it has a maximum tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 0.2 per cent.
THC is the cannabinoid compound that causes a âhighâ.
The oil is believed to have some medicinal benefits, said dietitian Jillian Kubala.
Certain components of cannabis – including CBD – are responsible for pain-relieving effects, she said.
Taking CBD oil could help to reduce chronic pain by reducing inflammation, she added.
âCBD may help reduce symptoms related to cancer and side effects related toÂ cancerÂ treatment, like nausea, vomiting and pain,â said Kubala.
It could also be used to boost heart health, including lowering blood pressure, said the dietitian.
Taking CBD could lower the risk of diabetes by 56 per cent, studies have revealed.
But, although CBD is generally considered safe, it may cause some side effects, said Kubala.
These include psychosis, vomiting, diarrhoea, dry mouth, and dizziness.
Speak to a GP before deciding to take CBD oil.