The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced that specialist doctors will be legally entitled to prescribe medicinal products containing cannabis by autumn.
The announcement comes after two high-profile cases involving young children suffering from severe epilepsy who were denied treatment by cannabis oil.
Previously, in the House of Commons, the Home Secretary had declared that the government’s current position on medicinal cannabis was “unsatisfactory” and promised a change in the law if a review found “significant medical benefits”. Other forms of cannabis will remain illegal.
Today’s statement from Mr Javid comes after experts, including the chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said patients with certain medical conditions should be given access to the treatments.
The Home Office, in conjunction with the Department for Health and Social Care and the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will develop a definition of what constitutes cannabis-derived products so that they can be prescribed.
Until this time, clinicians will still have to apply to an independent panel on behalf of patients who wish to be treated with these products.