Cannabis: Medical Treatments

Home Office written question – answered on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb Chair, Science and Technology Committee, Chair, Science and Technology Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will publish the advice used to inform his Department on the requirements that (a) the decision to prescribe medicinal cannabis products must be made by a specialist doctor and (b) medicinal cannabis products may only be prescribed when the patient has an unmet special clinical need that cannot be met by other treatments.

Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Home Department

The prescription of these products by doctors on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council (GMC) and only where there is an unmet clinical need follows the principles used by the Interim Expert Panel on cannabis-based products for medicinal use. This approach was agreed by senior clinicians on the Expert Panel, Chaired by Dr Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland. This approach was subsequently supported by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) in their advice to the Home Secretary on rescheduling cannabis. The ACMD advice has been published and is available at the following link:

Any unlicensed medicines, including cannabis-based products for medicinal use, will be supplied under long-standing arrangements for the supply of what are known, in healthcare settings, as ‘specials’. This process is underpinned by the Human Medicines Act and, outside of clinical trials, only allows these unlicensed medicines to be prescribed where there is an unmet clinical need. This restriction is in place because unlicensed medicines have not been through the same quality, safety and efficacy tests as licenced medicines.

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