The recent history of medical cannabis in Britain

Jun 13, 17 The recent history of medical cannabis in Britain

The idea of medical marijuana of any kind in Britain is something which seems to be toyed around with quite often, seemingly cropping up and picking up steam every couple of months before returning to the limbo from whence it came, and where it shall remain until the dust settles on whatever political farce is gripping the country at the time.

The first, big breakthrough on the NHS funded cannabis-front came with them trialling the Medipen just under a year ago. Now bear in mind that the Medipen is a CBD only vape and is therefore legal anyway as it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the component responsible for getting you stoned. This looked like the start of a bright future for British medical cannabis, however, as I previously stated it’s hard to keep hopes up when we have been let down so many times in the past.

To be honest this time, there was another element which instilled a bit more confidence in those holding out for medicinal marijuana in Britain, and this came in the form of a cadre of MPs who called on Theresa May and her government to legalise marijuana. This group was led by none other than former Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, who pointed out the economic benefit which could arise from legalising marijuana in Britain. He also pointed out the medicinal qualities as well as the benefits regulating the strength of cannabis would have on organised crime.

This again fell flat, even the reputation of Nick Clegg didn’t prove as impactful as first hoped, meaning that once again talk of cannabis was out of the public eye. Many had lost hope of any form of marijuana being available as medicine in the UK, whether it be CBD or bud itself.

However, just under two months ago, Billy Caldwell, an 11 year-old boy, became the first ever NHS CBD patient. The young boy had previously been travelling to the US for medication to treat his epilepsy. With only a few days worth of doses left and being unable to make the trip to Los Angeles for medication, Billy and his mother turned to local GP Dr Brendan O’Hare as a last resort. In a somewhat historic move, Dr O’Hare prescribed CBD oil to Billy which under MHRA guidelines doctors are legally able to prescribe.

This begs the question, why do so few prescribe it? Perhaps it is the stigma which still surrounds cannabis, even though CBD has no psychoactive effects. Maybe this is the beginning of a turnaround in Britain.

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