Did you know in Canada, Australia and most other parts of the world a GP can prescribe cannabis for medical use?
But the UK currently only allows GMC registered consultants to prescribe medical cannabis and we do not know why!
The law regarding medical cannabis came about in 2018 when then Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced it would be available through the NHS; To this day only a handful of NHS prescriptions have been issued.
The initial reason that Mr. Javid made the change was to help epileptic Children. However, new cases of children trying to access medical cannabis are being blocked. We know because we are currently trying to find consultants for 3 children to get cannabis oil. New cases can no longer get access because paediatric consultants are advised by the British Paediatric Neurology Association’s (BPNA) guidance on cannabis and epilepsy to only consider children for medical cannabis, if they “are not candidates for epilepsy surgery.” Which automatically denies those that are eligible for the invasive surgery, access to medical cannabis.
The clear and real implementation of this is that very few new prescriptions are being issued for epileptic children. This is against the accumulating real-world evidence and shows that BPNA have still not updated their guidance since 2018. They still recommend surgery over cannabis oil; even though surgery has a lot of inherent health risks.
We are all a lot more familiar with the evaluation of risk after COVID-19. It seems a remarkable confirmation of bias that back in 2018 the Home Secretary allowed medical cannabis for young epileptic children and in 2020 very few, if any, can access it. This has to change!
We work with patients to help them access medical cannabis and understand that this is a real, and difficult issue for some patients and families. The problem of access all stems from consultants being reported to the GMC, The General Medical Council, that still does not require the teaching of the endocannabinoid system three decades after its discovery.
It’s time for us to gain an understanding of how cannabis can be used to treat many ailments across the medical community. It’s time for a more responsive system, one which recognises and further studies and evaluates real-world data. The current “trend” on holistic medicine needs to be welcomed, embraced, and more accessible to our citizens who need it.
This is now time for Sajid Javid to make medical cannabis much more widely available as it is other countries around the world.
Join our Campaign for Change; and lets call on Sajid Javid to make change and build back better!