Press release: Home Office launches review into medical use of cannabis

Home Office Building - London - by .Martin. via Flickr

Press release: Home Office launches review into medical use of cannabis

The review will be carried out by the Home Office and Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies. The Home Secretary confirmed to Parliament that if the review identifies significant medical and therapeutic benefits, then the intention would be to reschedule cannabis for medicinal use.

The Home Secretary also announced that a licence will today be granted for Alfie Dingley which will allow Alfie’s clinicians access to the cannabis-based medicine he needs to treat his rare form of epilepsy.

The Home Secretary said:

Cases like Billy Caldwell’s, Alfie Dingley’s, and others like it, have shown that we need to look more closely at the use of cannabis-based medicine in healthcare in the UK.

The position we find ourselves in currently is not satisfactory. It’s not satisfactory for the parents, it’s not satisfactory for the doctors, and it’s not satisfactory for me.

I have now come to the conclusion that this is the right time to review the scheduling of cannabis.

The review into cannabis-based medicines will be conducted in 2 parts.

Professor Dame Sally Davies will take forward the first part of the review, considering the evidence available for the medicinal and therapeutic benefits of cannabis-based medicines. This will inform which cannabis-based medicines should be taken forward to part 2 of the review.

The second part of the review will be led by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) which will provide an assessment based on the balance of harms and public health needs, of what, if anything, should be rescheduled.

The review will not look into the reclassification of cannabis as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and will not consider the legalisation of cannabis. The penalties for unauthorised supply and possession will remain the same.

Yesterday (18 June) the Policing Minister Nick Hurd told Parliament that the government will establish an expert panel of clinicians to advise ministers on any applications from senior clinicians to prescribe cannabis-based medicines. Today the Home Secretary confirmed the panel will be in a position to start considering applications within a week.