The UK's Home Office has reduced restrictions governing the storage and prescription of GW Pharma's cannabis-based multiple sclerosis medicine Sativex.

Following advice from the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) that the potential for misuse is not significant, Sativex (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol) has been rescheduled by the government from level 1 to level 4, part 1.

In effect, this means that the drug must no longer be stored in a lockable refrigerator or one not on public display, nor must the disposal of out-of-date stocks be witnessed by healthcare professionals.

In addition, requirements for the level of information needed for prescriptions of Sativex have also been lifted.

Importantly, the change in scheduling "confirms the distinction between Sativex and crude herbal cannabis, which will remain on Schedule 1 of the Act," GW said.  

"Achieving a low restrictive scheduling for Sativex was one of the fundamental goals that GW set out to achieve from inception and we are delighted that the extensive scientific data generated over the last decade has informed the UK government in making this important decision," added Geoffrey Guy, GW’s Chairman. 

Sativex - the world’s first cannabis-based prescription medicine - was launched in the UK in June 2010.