Intended for healthcare professionals


Cannabis based drugs should be rescheduled to make research and prescribing easier, says chief medical officer

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 05 July 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k2957
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

Cannabis based drugs should be rescheduled under the UK’s misuse of drugs legislation so that they can be prescribed and more easily researched, the chief medical officer has advised.1

Sally Davies’s report says that the current classification of cannabis and cannabis-like products in schedule 1 of the legislation, which means that they cannot be prescribed, “Only makes medical sense if there is no or very little evidence of potential therapeutic benefit in a treatment setting.”

Her review, heavily reliant on similar recent reviews in Australia, Ireland, and the US, concludes that evidence of benefit now exists in a range of medical conditions, so she recommends moving such drugs out of schedule 1. It will be up to the Home Office to make this change, if it agrees.

The process was triggered by high profile cases such as that of Billy Caldwell, 12, who has an intractable form of epilepsy that seems …

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