The UK government has legalized the use of medical marijuana; however, accessing it is next to impossible. This has prompted professors, doctors, health experts, and politicians to sign letters petitioning the government to make medical marijuana free to all patients. To access medical marijuana for free, patients have to present a prescription from the NHS (National Health Service), which serves as the United Kingdom’s comprehensive, universal, and free-at-the-point-of-service system of medication.
It is legal to prescribe medical cannabis under particular conditions on the NHS system; however, there exist several restrictions and obstacles that hinder specialists from prescribing medical marijuana treatment to patients. The letter signed by the pharmacists, health experts, and members of parliament appeals to the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock to lift these restrictions. The Members of Parliament representing the Liberal Democrats and Labour have also signed a letter to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, appealing to him to intervene for the patients who are unable to access medical marijuana prescriptions.
Doctors and politicians are ready to change the highly restrictive measures administered by the UK government regarding legal access to medical cannabis. The UK government system governing access to medical marijuana does not give access to those patients who highly need it, thus causing unnecessary deaths and addiction to painkillers which could be avoided by treating the patient with medical cannabis.
In their letter to Mr. Hancock, the health experts argue that the failure of the medical and pharmacy professions to embrace medical cannabis is the leading cause of death from conditions that could be prevented, such as epilepsy.
A recent study by Public Health England concludes that a quarter of the population, ‘mainly adults’ consume strong painkillers, sleeping aids and antidepressants. The conditions forcing them to take these medications could be effectively and safely treated using medical marijuana.
Health experts in the UK want these restrictions lifted because it would make it easier for the doctors to prescribe medical cannabis for treatment using the NHS system. They want Hancock to scrape off the rule requiring a senior doctor to sign off on a prescription and allow a general specialist to write medical marijuana prescriptions. Besides, they want the laws governing the importation of medical marijuana simplified.
The proposed changes to medical marijuana could improve the lives of many patients because with a prescription from the medical provider; patients can access medical cannabis freely. Lack of access to medical cannabis prescription forces patients to seek the help of private caregivers who are very expensive; forcing the patients to turn to the use of unregulated weed for relief.
For the long term effect of free medical marijuana to be seen, professors, health experts and MPs advocate for the training of doctors on medical cannabis treatment and the process of prescribing. Medical cannabis should be prescribed to patients suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, cancer, multiple sclerosis, depression and insomnia.
In response to the letter, NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) is opposed to the use of medical marijuana, citing lack of enough clinical evidence.
Industry analysts think that marijuana industry actors like The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd. (TSX: TGOD) (OTCQX: TGODF) and The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX.V: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF) would wish that UK patients get as much access to Medical marijuana as those in Northern America.
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