There is strong scientific evidence that cannabis is a drug which can harm people’s mental and physical health, and damage communities. However recent cases have shown the need to look more closely at the use of cannabis-based medicine in the healthcare sector in the UK. This is why the Government decided it was appropriate to review the scheduling of cannabis.
The review has taken place in two parts. Professor Dame Sally Davies took forward the first part of the review, considering the evidence available for the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabis-based medicines. This informed which cannabis-based medicines should be taken forward to part two of the review. The second part of the review was led by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) which provided an assessment based on the balance of harms and public health needs, of what, if anything, should be rescheduled.
I very much welcome the decision of the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to reschedule these products. This decision means that senior clinicians will be able to prescribe the medicines to patients with an exceptional clinical need. The ACMD will carry out a longer-term review on rescheduling and make further recommendations within 12 months.
It is crucial that this country keeps in step with the latest scientific evidence, so that patients and their families have access to the most appropriate course of medical treatment.