Today (Friday
July 27) specialist doctors in the UK will be able to legally prescribe
cannabis-derived medicinal products by the autumn, Home Secretary Sajid Javid
has announced.

According to media
reports, those that meet safety and quality standards are to be made legal for
patients with ‘an exceptional clinical need’. 

Click here to read
the full report on the BBC website

We asked Dr Chris Kingswood, the TSA’s Head of Research Strategy, to respond to this development. This is what he said:

  • Rescheduling
    cannabis derived products that can be researched or used for medical purposes
    is welcome.
  • It
    will make it easier to do proper research based on well-designed scientific
    trials. Such trials will test whether a medicine works and whether the benefit
    of using it outweighs any harm from side effects.
  • This development will also eventually make it easier to prescribe any medicines
    found to be useful.
  • However using cannabis-based products bought over the internet is a risk because
    such products have not been carefully tested to show in what circumstances
    they may be beneficial nor whether they are safe long-term.
  • Also
    regarding cannabis-based products bought over the internet (or anything
    bought in shops or chemists which has not been prescribed) there are no
    guarantees about what is in the product you are considering buying or the consistency of the product’s make-up.
  • When
    people try medicines that have not yet finished scientific testing it can
    make it impossible to ever find out how best to use them or in what
    circumstances they are safe.
  • For
    TSC – it is ironic that the government has decided to make it easier for
    people with epilepsy to get a medicine that might help but has not been
    properly tested, while stopping them receiving a fully tested licensed
    medicine (everolimus) that has been shown to work well.
  • 30%
    of people with TSC have refractory epilepsy which devastates their lives
    and that of their families.
  • The
    civil servants at NHS England have not understood that for the 50% of
    people in whom everolimus abolishes or markedly improves refractory
    epilepsy, that change makes a stunning difference to their quality of life and the
    quality of life for their families. It also vastly reduces their risk of
    sudden premature death.
  • Everolimus
    is available now and is standard treatment in 25 countries around the
    world – including Scotland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Russia, and Romania.

Please click here to read more about the TSA’s approach to
cannabis and epilepsy:

And please click here for details of our
#everolimusforepilepsy #nhsenglandwrongdecision #wewontgiveup campaign and how
you can support it: