Medical Cannabis is now Legal in the United Kingdom – These are the Implications

After years of debate across all levels of both the society and the government of the United Kingdom, medical cannabis is now legally available for patients across the country. While a medical prescription is required for anyone who wants to have access to these products, the new law represents a significant change for the British public.

How it all Started:

The legalization of medical cannabis across the UK comes as a result of both high-profile cases and a growing amount of evidence on the potential benefits of the plant. Before the new regulation, several patients suffering from conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and other related conditions were forced to seek treatment abroad or consider illegal ways to access cannabis in the country.

Many of these cases gained widespread attention across both social media and traditional news outlets, prompting an active response from society and a growing call for the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. Online petitions received thousands of signatures, prompting the government to consider the case.

Finally, the favorable opinion of both the government’s expert drug advisers and the chief medical officer for England were the green light required by the administration to begin taking the necessary administrative actions.

What do These Legal Changes Imply?

In July 2018, Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that legal changes were being considered to make cannabis legally accessible for patients with a proven need.  Cannabis products were then transferred from schedule 1 to schedule 2, allowing doctors to prescribe them under a limited number of circumstances.

Although general practitioners are not allowed to prescribe cannabis products to their patients, specialist consultants can do so. The National Healthcare System has strict guidelines on the required evidence of its benefits, as well as careful consideration of any alternative treatments that might be available.

In a nutshell, the recently published laws represent an essential change in a country with a historically skeptical approach to cannabis and THC. Although it has limitations and many experts consider that it still leaves many users unable to access the plant, it is a sign that the issue is finally being addressed at the highest levels of policymaking in the country.

What About CBD Products?

One of the most common errors committed by both the public and some media outlets is failing to understand the difference between cannabis and CBD. While cannabis refers to the entire plant and its full range of both psychoactive and non-psychoactive components, CBD is a substance which is commonly derived from industrial hemp plants and does not cause any psychotropic effect.

In the United Kingdom, CBD products are entirely legal for use and sale without the need for a prescription or doctor’s recommendation. The only condition is that these substances contain less than 0.2% of THC. Cannabidiol tinctures, vape liquids, and even topicals are widely available in both online and physical dispensaries across the country, helping patients deal with a wide range of physical and neurological conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and stress.


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