The UK’s chief medical officer and advisor Professor Dame Sally Davies has concluded that there is evidence to show the therapeutic benefit of cannabis-based medicines for some conditions.
The finding has prompted Home Secretary Sajid Javid to commission the second part of the UK's review into cannabis-related medicinal products, led by an independent advisory committee.
This will see the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) advise on whether they should be reclassified from their current Schedule 1 position within three weeks.
“Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that we needed to take a fresh look at the scheduling of cannabis-related medicinal products,” Javid said, and noted that he would consider the next steps to be taken on receiving advice from the committee.
“There is clear evidence from highly respected and trusted research institutions that some cannabis based medicinal products have therapeutic benefits for some medical conditions,” Professor Dame Sally said.
“As Schedule 1 drugs by definition have little or no therapeutic potential, it is therefore now clear that from a scientific point of view keeping cannabis-based medicinal products in Schedule 1 is very difficult to defend.”
Moving cannabis-based medicines out of the Schedule 1 category would allow doctors to prescribe them under strictly controlled conditions.
According to snap poll by Sky News, 82 percent of Britons believe the drug should be legalised for medical use, marking an increase of 10 percent compared with a similar Sky survey carried out in November 2016.
GW Pharmaceuticals’ is the first cannabis-based medicine to be licensed in the UK. Doctors can prescribe the drug for the treatment of MS-related spasticity, if the patient has shown inadequate response to other symptomatic treatments or cannot tolerate their treatment.