Medicinal cannabis should be available for all NHS patients, campaigners say – The Telegraph

Medical cannabis should be made available for all NHS patients, campaigners have said, amid expectations it will only be prescribed to help treat three conditions.

The Telegraph understands formal NHS England guidelines, due to be released before November 1, will advise specialist doctors on prescribing cannabis for epilepsy, chronic pain and nausea caused by chemotherapy.

Although new legislation technically allows cannabis to be taken for any condition, doctors are expected to strictly follow the guidelines, meaning they are unlikely to prescribe it for conditions other than those listed.

Campaigners have urged for the drug to be accessed by all patients and pointed to the thousands of people taking cannabis oil illegally for a variety of other conditions.

Patients using the oil for cancer symptoms, Parkinson’s disease, and PTSD must wait until full prescription guidelines are published in October 2019 to see if GPs will prescribe for their conditions.

The full guidelines are expected to give the UK some of the most liberal medicinal cannabis laws in the world.

In the meantime, users could be prosecuted for using cannabis oil or growing their own plants for medicinal use, campaigners said.

Jon Liebling, Political Director of the United Patient Alliance, said: “We do believe that everybody should have access. 

“When you’re talking about cannabis as a medicine, you really do have to compare the risks associated with cannabis that we’re aware of versus the risks of those drugs that patients are already taking.”

Patrick O’Hara, 63, who imports cannabis oil for his daughter Caroline, who has a brain tumour, said that a doctor told him discreetly where to buy the drug online but could not formally recommend its use.

He imports the oil from Canada at a cost of around £1,000 per month, and has written to the Home Secretary asking for cannabis to be available to cancer patients on the NHS.

He said: “There’s a groundswell of opinion among the medical staff, that this is something people should consider doing.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said that the new law will not limit the types of treatment for which cannabis can be prescribed.

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/14/medicinal-cannabis-should-available-nhs-patients-campaigners/

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