January 31, 2019

UK medicinal cannabis use hampered by lack of doctor training

3min read

The European Cannabis Report™ 4th Edition is the most extensive review to date of the European cannabis industry. It examines legislation, regulation, market size and market opportunities in 33 European countries. One of the key areas the report examines is the impact of recent legislative changes in the UK for the prescription of medical cannabis.

The European Cannabis Report™ 4th Edition is the most extensive review to date of the European cannabis industry. It examines legislation, regulation, market size and market opportunities in 33 European countries. One of the key areas the report examines is the impact of recent legislative changes in the UK for the prescription of medical cannabis.

Download the most comprehensive study undertaken on the European cannabis market now

 

Last year Sajid Javid (The UK Home Secretary) announced changes to the scheduling of cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 2001. Cannabis was previously in Schedule I, labelled as having “no medical value”. Cannabis has now been moved to Schedule II. On October 11th of the same year, Mr Javid announced that doctors across the UK would also be able to prescribe medical cannabis. He cited the concerns surrounding the treatment of Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley as an important rationale for the policy change.

Medical cannabis can now be issued by the 80,000+ doctors on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council. Although the law has changed, doctors and healthcare professionals are still catching up on procedures and as a result, only a handful of clinicians are prescribing cannabis-based medicines. The main reason is the lack of formal educational programmes. NHS doctors have had little guidance on how to prescribe cannabis and there are fears many simply won’t do it because they lack the infrastructure needed to support them should something go wrong. This has resulted in patients struggling to access cannabis medicines. Genevieve Edwards, Director of External Affairs of the MS Society, recently voiced concern that no patient with multiple sclerosis has been able to access a cannabis-based medicine since the change. The combination of these factors has slowed down medicinal cannabis use and pushed the majority of patients into the black market.

In response to low prescription rates, NHS England has now established a system to monitor the prescribing of cannabis-based products for medicinal use, with the first data expected by the end of March 2019. Though the initial numbers are expected to be conservative, positive news and results from cannabis-related treatments are also filtering through to the general public and medical professionals. A recent survey (November 2018) by the United Patients Alliance charity questioned 1,750 patients who use cannabis for medicinal purposes. More than three-quarters (77%) experienced significant improvements in their condition when they started using cannabis. This is compared to just 9% who said they experienced improvements from prescription drugs such as Tramadol, Diazepam and Gabapentin.

The World Health Organisation is now reassessing the legal status of cannabis and European Union Committees are looking at how to regulate the market internationally.  Moreover, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance, due in October 2019, will examine the effectiveness and safety of cannabis-based medicinal products. The guidelines are expected to increase the number of conditions recommended for medical cannabis treatments

Despite this challenging environment, our forecasts show that the UK’s medicinal cannabis market could soar in value in 2019 as patient access is widened. According to the findings in The European Cannabis Report™ 4th Edition, the UK medicinal cannabis market has the potential to be worth some £10 million this year. By removing obstacles to growth and improving access to information, the market could be worth in excess of £1 billion by 2022.

 

About Prohibition Partners
Prohibition Partners was founded in 2017 with a mission to open up the international cannabis industry through reliable data and intelligence. Within two years, we have become the world’s leading provider of market insights and strategic consultancy for this emerging frontier. We firmly believe that data, insights and education will unlock the societal and commercial potential of cannabis.

About The European Cannabis Report™ 4th Edition
The European Cannabis Report™ 4th Edition is the most extensive review to date of the European cannabis industry. It examines legislation, regulation, market size and market opportunities in 33 European countries, analysing myriad data points. Read by over 150,000 global cannabis investors and entrepreneurs The European Cannabis Report™ is the number one source for data in the European cannabis industry.

 

 

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