What Qualifies for a Cannabis Prescription in the UK?

For most people in the UK, the only way to access cannabis is through a private prescription. To be eligible, a patient must have a qualifying condition and generally must have tried two previously prescribed medications or treatments for their condition. Cannabis is a class B drug in the United Kingdom, and it cannot be prescribed by a primary care doctor. A cannabis-based medicine (CBM) can only be prescribed by a specialist doctor at the hospital.

The specialist will recommend that you first try other treatment options before considering a cannabis-based product.

Medical cannabis

would only be prescribed when it was considered to be in your best interest and when other treatments hadn't worked or weren't adequate. The cost of private medical cannabis can be prohibitive for people with low incomes, especially those with diseases that prevent them from working and raising the necessary funds to subsidize their medical needs. Products such as CBD or hemp oil can be legally sold as food supplements and are not subject to the same laws as medical cannabis.

Even now, more than two years later, the estimated number of prescriptions in the NHS is still a few hundred, while around 1.4 million people in the UK use cannabis to treat their own medical conditions. If you've been diagnosed with one of these qualifying conditions, you may be able to apply for medical cannabis in the UK. As these people are forced to commit crimes, the issue of greater access to medical cannabis remains a pressing issue and a hotly debated topic. Many NHS doctors remain cautious about prescribing medical cannabis, despite overwhelming evidence from clinical trials on a variety of medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.

You'll have to break down the cannabis flower, a grinder can help you in this process, since it breaks down cannabis in a finer and more consistent way. By law, a prescription for medical cannabis can only be delivered “when the patient has an unmet special clinical need that cannot be met with authorized products”. The people most likely to be prescribed medical cannabis on the NHS are children and adults with rare and severe forms of epilepsy, adults with vomiting or nausea due to chemotherapy, and people with muscle stiffness and spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. This means that GPs cannot fill a prescription for cannabis, but they can refer patients to the appropriate medical professional to do so if they agree that a prescription is the right thing to do.

If your consultant is willing to prescribe medical cannabis for you, your prescription will be confirmed in writing and then processed by a specialty pharmacy. The first step is to talk to your family doctor and see if they refer you to a specialist doctor or book a consultation at a private medical cannabis clinic. There are several conditions or symptoms that qualify for treatment with medical cannabis. Many clinics across the UK have partnered with the Twenty21 Project to make medical cannabis as accessible as possible.

Emma Matthews
Emma Matthews

Meet Emma, a travel enthusiast from Aukland, now living in Great Britain, on a mission to share the world's wonders. Her blog is your passport to adventure, from London's charming cafes to the Scottish Highlands' rugged trails. Follow her for travel tips, cultural insights, and a dose of wanderlust. Join Emma on her quest to make every journey unforgettable!