Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Medical cannabis in the UK

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 16 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4844

Rapid Response:

Re: Medical cannabis in the UK

I agree with Stevens regarding the position that people wanting to use cannabis for their health now find themselves in, essentially forced to break the law as the new access to cannabis products process is overly cautious.

It is difficult to know if restricted access to cannabis products under this new policy is deliberate or accidental. Either way it has given false hope to many people who may well be in need of hope as well as medicine, that seems cruel.

Much of the reluctance by professional bodies and potential prescribers seems to be due to lack of education and training about the evidence in relation to cannabis and health. This is an issue which the British Medical Association should take the lead on and provide training and information to its members. They could use the guide on medicinal cannabis produced this year by the Australian Government (1). This guide would be of benefit to patients who, as Stevens points out, have a right to self-medicate.

1. Australian Government (2018). Medicinal Cannabis - guidance documents.

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 November 2018
Ian Hamilton
Associate Professor in Addiction
University of York
Health Sciences, University of York, UK