It is now September. The long days of summer are fleeting, and autumn will soon be in our midst. While the green leaves turn into sunsets on the trees, a different type of greenery is soon to be available to purchase for “exceptional circumstances”. As of this new season, specialist doctors in the UK will legally be allowed to prescribe medicinal products containing cannabis.
As announced by the home secretary, those that “meet safety and quality standards are to be made legal for patients with an exceptional clinical need” stated Sajid Javid. This is because after the chief medical officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies said that people should be given access to treatments that can really help.
These products can be used to help boys such as Billy Gladwell and Alfie Dingley who were denied access to cannabis oil in the past for their seizures. Now, with the help of these treatments, a normal life for them can ensue.
In response to patients like those boys, Mr Javid said that “our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory”. And, in a drastic turn of events to what seems to be an archaic standpoint on cannabis, he stated on the young boy’s, Billy, 13thbirthday that the legalisation of cannabis products was in full swing. His mother was without words and could only say that “never has Billy received a better birthday present”.
Cannabis is classed as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that it does not have any therapeutic value. Because of this, the Department for Health and Social care and the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will now have to develop a clear definition of what cannabis-derived medicinal products is so they can be prescribed to patients that suffer with seizures and/ or epilepsy, to name a few.
Many in the medical field have welcomed this change warmly. Donna Kinnair, from the Royal College of Nursing, said the decision was “very welcome”. Dr Tom Freeman also said something to the same effect. However, the former justice minister Sir Mike Penning stated that there were still some unanswered questions regarding the rescheduling of the treatments for young boys like Alfie Dingley.
It seems that most UEA students also strongly support the use of medicinal cannabis in severe medical cases, with over 94 percent of respondents responding ‘Yes’ to a Twitter poll we ran last week.