The Government is clear that the decision to prescribe a cannabis-based product for medicinal use should only be made where it is clinically appropriate and in the best interest of the patient. This will be subject to local National Health Service governance and funding arrangements for prescribing unlicensed medicines, and patients will not be able to be prescribed such products by their general practitioner – and would require referral to a specialist clinician on the basis of clinical need.
The evidence base for cannabis-based products for medicinal use is still developing. However, the changes to the law are designed to encourage further research and the National Institute for Health Research has issued two calls for research proposals to rapidly advance knowledge in this area and remains open to research proposals outside of these calls in this priority area.
Interim clinical guidance, issued by the Royal College of Physicians, British Paediatric Neurology Association and Association of British Neurologists is based on the best available international evidence and reflects clinical guidance that has been published in other jurisdictions. This guidance will be updated and replaced in October 2019 by that commissioned from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.