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The law was changed on 1 November 2018 to allow clinicians on the General Medical Council’s ‘Specialist Register’ to prescribe cannabis-based products for medicinal use, where clinically appropriate and in the best interest of patients. The Government has been clear that decisions on whether to prescribe these products must remain a clinical one.
Following a meeting in Parliament with the families of patients seeking access to medicinal cannabis, my Rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to undertake a rapid process review into any barriers to prescribing on the National Health Service, where clinically appropriate. The review report is now published, and the Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and other delivery partners to implement the report’s recommendations. This includes committing public funds through the National Institute for Health Research to establish clinical trials to develop the evidence base and exploring alternative studies to help children and young adults with treatment resistance epilepsy who are currently receiving cannabis-based medicines. We have also contacted all producers of cannabis-based products, known to have an interest in supplying the United Kingdom market, to encourage and support research applications to develop the evidence base further.