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Medical Cannabis Under Prescription

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:04 pm on 20th May 2019.

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Photo of James Cartlidge James Cartlidge Conservative, South Suffolk 7:04 pm, 20th May 2019

My hon. Friend makes a good point. I would just be cautious about using the term “life-saving”, because this is about easing pain. These medicines are not cures; they relieve the pain of seizures. However, I understand my hon. Friend’s point, as we all did.

The meeting that I organised was instructive for me in many ways. Since then, I have obviously continued to correspond with my constituents to try to explain to them the powers that I have in this case and the next steps that they need to take. When this debate came up, they emailed to ask me to put one question to the Minister. Remember, they are not being prescribed THC-based compounds; they have been offered Epidiolex, which is a CBD-based medicine. They want me to ask whether any other children with epilepsy, or any other condition—of course, it is primarily complex epilepsy—have been prescribed THC-based medicines.

That information is in the public domain in the form of a written answer. As I understand it, 110 items—items, not people—of CBD-based medicine have been prescribed, along with 16 items of THC-based compounds, six of them on the NHS. That is an important point, as my constituents want to know whether others have been granted such medicines, and clearly they have. Where is the consistency? That is the confusion. Of course we cannot know the unique personal medical facts of each case, which must always be down to the clinicians, but we now know that THC-based solutions have been prescribed.