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Medical cannabis oil

Volume 648: debated on Monday 5 November 2018

The petition of residents of the United Kingdom,

Declares that it is an injustice that sufferers of long term and terminal illness in the United Kingdom are currently unable to legally access Cannabis Oil for medical use which may in many cases be their only relief from pain or suffering; further that an online petition by Wansbeck Constituent, Paul Keeney, which has gathered the support of over 280,000 signatories in its calls for the Government to legalise Cannabis Oil for medical use; further the Government should listen to these calls and immediately act on reforming legislation which currently prevents cannabis oil being used in medical treatment in the United Kingdom; and further that in support of that petition and the work of Paul Keeney, this petition seeks to bring the attention of the Government to this important issue and further call for immediate action to be taken to legalise Cannabis Oil for Medical Use.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to legalise Cannabis Oil for medical use in the United Kngdom

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Ian Lavery , Official Report, 26 June 2018; Vol. 643, c. 862 .]


Observations from the Minister for Policing and the Fire Service (Mr Nick Hurd):

Recent high profile cases have shown the need to look more closely at the use of cannabis-based products for medicinal use in the UK. That is why the Government committed to making these products available for specialist doctors on the GMC Specialist register to prescribe legally by the autumn.

This followed a two-part review in which the Government approach was guided by expert medical and scientific advice, such as the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) and the UK’s Chief Medical Advisor, that there are potential medicinal benefits from these products.

While the Government have acted to ensure that patients are able to access the most appropriate forms of healthcare, the Government also recognise the particular challenges surrounding cannabis and, as such, we are taking a cautious approach to provide the necessary protections and safeguards both the Government and ACMD feel are essential.

The Government have now set out how cannabis-based products for medicinal use will be defined in order to make it lawful for them to be prescribed when specialist doctors believe this is appropriate. There are three broad requirements for products before they can be prescribed:

the product is or contains cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol or cannabinol derivatives;

the product must be produced for medicinal use in humans;

it must be a product that is regulated as a medicinal product or an ingredient of a medicinal product.

Additionally, due to the known harms of smoking and the potential operational impact on misuse and diversion, smoking will remain prohibited.

Regulations have now been laid in Parliament to give effect to these measures and the rescheduling of cannabis-based products for medicinal use came into force on 1 November. It is the intention of Northern Ireland to mirror these regulations.

As the Government have been clear throughout, this is by no means the first step in the legalisation of cannabis for recreational purposes. Cannabis is controlled under Class B of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as there is clear scientific and medical evidence that cannabis is a harmful drug which can damage people’s mental and physical health, and harms individuals and communities.