Multiple Sclerosis: Drugs

Department of Health written question – answered on 9th December 2014.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Liberal Democrat, Lewes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the availability of sativex through the NHS with the classification of cannabis as a Schedule One substance.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Cannabis is a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and is listed in Schedule 1 under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. Cannabis in its raw form is not authorised as a medicinal product in the United Kingdom and no assessment has been made by the Government of its potential medicinal benefits.

Sativex is the first cannabis-based medicine (oral spray) to be recognised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to have medicinal properties and is placed in Part I of Schedule 4 to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. This distinguishes it from cannabis in its raw form which continues to remain a Class B and Schedule 1 controlled drug under UK legislation. A person can lawfully possess Sativex under a prescription issued by a qualified healthcare professional.

However, Sativex remains a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Act and Class B drug offences, including unlawful possession, supply, possession with intent to supply etc, continue to apply to Sativex.

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