Medical cannabis has been legal in the UK since November 2018, following a number of tireless patient advocacy campaigns. However, accessing medical cannabis today is not as simple as many would have hoped. But don’t worry, we’re here to talk you through how to access medical cannabis in the UK.
Red tape around who can prescribe cannabis, coupled with restrictive recommendations by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), means that very few medical cannabis prescriptions have been provided through the NHS. Instead, the vast majority of prescriptions are approved through private clinics, like Wellford Medical Clinics.
Who can be prescribed medical cannabis?
While access to medical cannabis through the NHS is severely limited , the list of eligible conditions for a private medical cannabis prescription may surprise you. The most common reason for medical cannabis use (around half of prescriptions fulfilled), is to manage chronic pain conditions. This is true in countries all over the world, including the UK.
Roughly a quarter of inquiries concern the treatment of psychiatric issues such as anxiety or depression, while other significant areas of care involve symptom management relating to neurological conditions such as MS, or palliative care support, for example around the management of the adverse effects of chemotherapy treatments. .
Specific conditions that may be eligible for a medical cannabis prescription include (but are not limited to):
- Chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea
- Sleep Disorders
- Headaches and migraine
- Palliative care
- Diabetic neuropathy
Can children be prescribed medical cannabis?
On the NHS, current recommendations state that children over the age of two can be offered medical cannabis (Epidyolex, or pure CBD, only) for the management of treatment-resistant epilepsy. Where clinically relevant, other unlicensed medical cannabis products may also be considered by an expert paediatric clinician as part of a specialised care team.
Do I need a medical cannabis card?
The short answer is no, you are not required to apply for a medical cannabis card in order to access medical cannabis in the UK. Instead, we will receive your medical history from your registered GP and perform a consultation to determine whether you are eligible for medical cannabis treatment under the current law.
You will then receive more information on your proposed treatment plan, and one of our specialist clinicians will prescribe the relevant medical cannabis product(s).
It is recommended that you keep your prescription on your person when carrying your medicine outside of your residence. While medical cannabis is legal in the UK, you may be required to prove to police that you are entitled to the products you are carrying.
Should I get a medical cannabis card?
There are medical cannabis organisations in the UK that offer ID cards, but despite some general statements of support from a handful of police authorities, none of these cards have any official status. GP groups have actually advised against their members endorsing these cards because of this.
Any suggestion that a medical cannabis ID card will provide legal protection for non-prescribed substances should be disregarded. Anything other than a legally prescribed medical cannabis product is still illegal to possess, even if you’re a self-diagnosed medical user.
Currently, your prescription is the only actual legal proof of your medical use.
As medical cannabis practice continues to evolve, we are hoping to see the development of an ID card that meets clear standards:
- Full and formal endorsement by requisite police authorities;
- Full and formal endorsement by prescribing healthcare groups;
- Comprehensive patient support networking;
- Provision of legal liability coverage for patients.
Where/How to Access Medical Cannabis
Here at Wellford Medical Clinics, we strive to make access to medical cannabis as easy as possible. Our prescription process has been designed to take all the guesswork out of getting your medicine.
- Fill out our eligibility form
The first step to accessing medical cannabis is to fill out our eligibility form. This will allow our specialist clinicians to assess your case and inform you whether you meet the eligibility criteria for access to medical cannabis.
- Book an appointment
Once we have established that you have a qualifying condition and are eligible for medical cannabis treatment, we can arrange an appointment to discuss your case in more detail. At this consultation, one of our specialists will determine whether your condition may be improved with the help of medical cannabis products. If our consultants believe that you would benefit from medical cannabis treatment, a prescription will be considered.
- Receiving your prescription
Once we have considered which medical cannabis product is suitable for your treatment plan, we will fulfil your prescription. Your medication will then be delivered to your selected pharmacy. You can also contact your clinician to arrange repeat prescriptions of your medical cannabis products.
If you require more information on our eligibility criteria, the conditions we treat, or help booking an appointment, visit our contact page to get in touch.