The government announced it will review its ban on the medical use of marijuana.
Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, announced the review in the House of Commons yesterday, saying there is “a pressing need to allow those who might benefit from cannabis-based medicines to access them”, adding “If the review identifies that there are significant medical benefits, then we do intend to reschedule”.
Over 40 countries, including Italy, Finland, Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and half of the United States, have decriminalised cannabis in some form and many studies have suggested that cannabis can be useful in the treatment of chronic pain and the management of conditions such as epilepsy.
In the coming months, Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies, will review the evidence for cannabis-based medicine and provide a set of recommendations for the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs Act.
It should be treated in the same way as Morphine.
Many argue that painkillers such as morphine are legal despite being an opiate like heroin, so medicalised cannabis should be treated no differently.
Currently, cannabis is a class-b drug subject to strict restrictions, it cannot be prescribed, administered or supplied to the public, and can only be used for research under a Home Office licence. One exception to this rule is Sativex, which has been available for use as a medicine without the need for a Home Office licence since 2013.
In May, Royal College of Nursing members voted overwhelmingly in favour of calling for the Government to decriminalise the use of cannabis for medical conditions.
Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, has previously said on the issue: “The sorts of conditions we heard about today, the terrible pain that people can be in, if people feel there’s something that will relieve that pain it’s worth a try.”
The government has said “absolutely no plans” to decriminalise the drug for recreational use.