Althea, the Australian medicinal cannabis company, has launched in the UK, following changes allowing specialist doctors to prescribe cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPM) to certain patients.

The company will initially be supplying CBPM through its strategic partnership with Aphria, a global cannabis company which has already collaborated with other health systems around the world, and is already working with prescribers in the UK and expects to be supplying products from March 2019.

The Australian production facility is projected to be operational for 2020 and the company expects that the UK will create a second significant distribution channel for Althea’s Australian grown and manufactured products. Recent research suggests that from a population of 66 million people, that CBPM could be suitable for up to 2.9 million UK patients.

Current guidance from the NHS states that medical cannabis in England is only likely to be prescribed for children and adults with rare, severe forms of epilepsy and adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy and UK patients can only be prescribed cannabis-based products for medicinal use by a specialist doctor on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register.

Althea's chief executive, Josh Fegan, said: “Althea’s mission is to facilitate the appropriate provision of cannabis-based products for medicinal use where it can improve patients’ lives. The UK government’s positive regulatory change represents another major milestone in the advancement of medical cannabis around the world.

“We look forward to collaborating with UK health authorities and healthcare professionals (HCPs) to share our extensive experience in providing cannabis-based products for medicinal use to tackle unmet medical needs across a range of conditions and disease areas.”

Althea UK will also be launching Althea UK Concierge, to provide medical education resources for HCPs and guidance on how to access Althea UK products.