Medical Marijuana Update: England

Medical Marijuana Update: England

While England’s medical marijuana laws are very strict — and will probably remain that way for the time being — change could be just around the corner.

Right now, British police can issue a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £90 (about US$ 119) to anyone found with cannabis. While English law doesn’t recognize cannabis as having any therapeutic value — meaning all cannabis use is seen as recreational — Sativex can be prescribed and used in some cases.

Most commonly used by multiple sclerosis patients, Sativex contains non-synthetic cannabinoids. Cannabis in any other form is currently (and strictly) prohibited in England. But a recent incident involving a 12-year-old boy could spur change very soon.

The boy, who had been featured in British newspapers after he travelled to the United States to obtain CBD to treat his severe epilepsy, had his CBD seized by airport authorities upon returning to England. as a result, the boy suffered severe seizures which required him to be hospitalized.

This is only one of many stories of (young) patients in Great Britain who could benefit from medical marijuana to treat medical conditions or alleviate associated symptoms.

Time for Change

Later this month (July 2018), doctors in Great Britain will be allowed to order medical marijuana for their patients in exceptional cases. The rules will remain very strict, as there must be “exceptional clinical need” — though it’s still not clear what will, or will not be, considered as exceptional clinical need. All we know is that the doctor must be able to proof that the patient can not be helped by any other form of medication.

Despite the positive developments, however, doctors ordering cannabis would have to accept “full responsibility for risks and liability.” Also, as medical marijuana will be something new in England, many doctors will likely lack training and knowledge about cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. As a result, it might become hard for patients to find physicians willing to take the risk of being held responsible in case something goes wrong.

Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.