Home Secretary Sajid Javid has today commissioned part 2 of the review into cannabis-related medicinal products, after the Chief Medical Officer concluded there is evidence of therapeutic benefit for some conditions.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Medical Advisor for the UK government, examined existing research into the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of cannabis-related medicinal products. Her report, which formed part 1 of the government review announced on 19 June, has now been published.
Commissioned today, the second part of the review will be completed by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). As part of this work the ACMD will advise on whether cannabis-related medicinal products should be rescheduled within 3 weeks.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that we needed to take a fresh look at the scheduling of cannabis-related medicinal products.
I would like to thank the Chief Medical Advisor for her initial review and have now asked my independent advisory committee to commence the second stage of this process.
When I have received its advice I will consider what next steps need to be taken.
The results from the Chief Medical Advisor’s report has advised that all cannabis-related medicinal products should be considered in part 2 of the review.
The government has absolutely no plans to legalise cannabis. Recreational use of cannabis will remain illegal and the penalties for unauthorised supply and possession will remain unchanged.
Chief Medical Advisor for the UK government Professor Dame Sally Davies said:
There is clear evidence from highly respected and trusted research institutions that some cannabis based medicinal products have therapeutic benefits for some medical conditions.
As Schedule 1 drugs by definition have little or no therapeutic potential, it is therefore now clear that from a scientific point of view keeping cannabis-based medicinal products in Schedule 1 is very difficult to defend.
Let me be emphatic - this report does not look at recreational cannabis use and does not endorse or condone recreational use. There is well-established evidence on the potential harm of recreational cannabis use. This is about helping patients, in exceptional circumstances, get access to treatment which could work.
This review forms part of a series of measures announced by the Home Secretary, including the launch of an expert panel who will consider individual applications from senior clinicians to prescribe cannabis-related medicinal products.
There are currently 8 members of the expert panel, which was launched on 27 June.
Chair: Dr Michael McBride - Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland
- Dr Clare Gerada, MBE - GP and former chair, Royal College of General Practitioners
- Professor Martin Kirkpatrick - Consultant Paediatric Neurologist, Scotland
- Dr Jenny Harries, OBE - Deputy Medical Director and Regional Director South for Public Health England
- Dr Jackie Cornish, OBE - National Clinical Director Children, Young People and Transition to Adulthood in NHS England
- Professor Tom Walley, CBE - Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Liverpool University and Director of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme
- Professor Finbar O’Callaghan - Professor of Paediatric Neuroscience at the UCL GOS Institute of Child Health and (Hon) Consultant Paediatric Neurologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital
- Andrew Evans (non-voting observer) - Chief Pharmacist, Wales