What is medicinal cannabis and is it legal in the UK? Your questions answered

Everything you need to know about medicinal cannabis

Wednesday 18 January 2023 15:25 GMT
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The topic of cannabis for medicinal use has long been shrouded in stigma, confusion and misinformation. With years of legal regulations and cultural opinions about recreational cannabis (which is a very different product), the lines between truth and myth have often been blurred, and even today, most people don’t know the facts about medical-grade, prescribed cannabis.

Often perceived as a taboo subject, it really needn’t be. The legislation of medical cannabis changed in the UK in 2018 and since then Lyphe Clinic, a specialist group, has supported patients and worked to destigmatise the use of cannabis as a treatment for medical conditions.

When it comes to conditions where two conventional treatments have not relieved symptoms, if someone has a diagnosis of a qualifying condition, and if they have no risk factors that would prevent them using medical cannabis, then it can be prescribed - and there are experts out there to help. Take Lyphe Clinic - the group are at the forefront of medicinal cannabis treatment in the UK, with a network of specialist doctors leading the way.

Dr Luisa Searle, Medical Director of Lyphe Clinic, notes that “medical cannabis is not a miracle cure, it has its risks and benefits like any medication. However, where it has been assessed as appropriate for our patients, we are seeing significant improvements in patients’ management and treatment of chronic symptoms, restoring hope and quality of life”.

Find out more about your treatment options with Lyphe Clinic

Research continues to provide a deeper understanding of its effectiveness, but medical cannabis may be particularly useful for alleviating symptoms of intractable nausea and vomiting, chronic pain, spasticity and severe treatment-resistant epilepsy.

To help you better understand medicinal cannabis, we’re here to shed some light on it as a treatment option - from what it is to what it can be used for and where you can access help.

What is medical cannabis?

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The term “medicinal cannabis” is relatively broad and is defined by the NHS as “any sort of cannabis-based medicine used to relieve symptoms”. In terms of how over-the-counter options, such as CBD oil, differ, Lyphe Clinic notes that it “generally is not as concentrated as prescribed” medicinal cannabis, which is “grown, prepared, and packaged under the strictest conditions to produce a medical-grade product for humans”. Similarly, medicinal cannabis contains THC (which works together with the CBD compound to enhance the positive effects) while CBD-only products have little or zero levels - which actually decreases the effectiveness of the CBD compound itself.

Is medical cannabis legal in the UK?

Yes. Taking prescribed medical cannabis was made legal in the UK in November 2018, and there are specialist resources out there to guide the way forwards for this relatively new treatment option.

A large amount of stigma exists around taking it as medicine, but this needn’t be the case, especially because research has shown that some people have found it to be an effective solution when other solutions haven’t worked.

Visit lyphe.com for more information

What can medical cannabis be used to treat?

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It may be a successful natural alternative for those who have tried two other medicines that have been unsuccessful. Under the NHS, medicinal cannabis is only prescribed for a small number of people in England, particularly: children and adults with severe forms of epilepsy; adults with vomiting and nausea as a result of chemotherapy; and people with multiple sclerosis.

Lyphe Clinic’s specialists can help you find the best treatment plan, but in order for someone to be prescribed medicinal cannabis, they do need a diagnosis of one of the listed conditions from their GP.

Where can I access specialist doctors who can prescribe me medical cannabis?

It’s always important to speak to your GP about your options, and the available avenues to explore for your individual circumstances. Thankfully, for those interested in finding out more about medicinal cannabis, you can access specialist clinicians available through Lyphe Clinic. The expert team will provide you with all of the advice and information you need.

Visit lyphe.com to learn more

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