The UK introduced a new law in November 2018, which legalized medicinal marijuana. The drugs from medicinal Cannabis have been moved from schedule 1 to schedule 2. Schedule 1 drugs do not have any medicinal value as per the laws while The Chief Medical Officer reviewed the data under conditions where they would help.
How did the rescheduling happen?
This change to Misuse Of Drugs Regulation 2001 was introduced as a result of a study which confirmed that some drugs from medicinal Cannabis could be effective in curing certain medical conditions. The Chief Medical Officer reviewed the data. Additionally, the Government Advisory Council on the misuse of drugs also lodged formal advice regarding this.
However, the bureaucratic system has resulted in acute difficulty in procuring the drug by patients. Although there has been no formal study to confirm the numbers, NHS prescriptions since the change in the law have been less than a hundred.
It appears that this is not a unique phenomenon focused on Cannabis. Accessing medicines on the NHS, including Chemotherapy drugs as well as those for cystic fibrosis, is extremely difficult.
What is the status of legal Marijuana?
It appears that some medicines derived from Cannabis are available despite the change in schedule as they are developed by pharmaceutical companies and licensed like any other medicine. However, herbal Cannabis and Cannabis oil preparations do not undergo the licensing process but can still be prescribed by doctors.
Unlike other countries like the Netherlands, a dedicated regulatory system has not been developed in the UK to control Cannabis prescribed medicines. The government needs to establish a system that can help the patient access these medicines and meet standards set by the medical staff.