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Cannabis oil available on prescription from NHS next month

The new regulations have been put in place after several high-profile cases.

Healing: Cannabis oil helped two young epilepsy sufferers
Healing: Cannabis oil helped two young epilepsy sufferers PA

Doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis products to patients in Scotland starting next month, the home secretary has announced.

The move comes after several high-profile cases, including that of young epilepsy sufferers Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oil.

The new rules - put in place after a specially commissioned review - will also apply in England and Wales.

Setting out the new regulations regarding cannabis-based products for medicinal use, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: "This brings these products explicitly into the existing medicines framework.

"These regulations are not an end in themselves.

"The ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) will be conducting a long-term review of cannabis and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has been commissioned to provide advice for clinicians by October next year.

"The government will monitor the impact of the policy closely as the evidence-base develops and review when the ACMD provides its final advice."

Campaign: Alfie with his parents and Sir Patrick Stewart.
Campaign: Alfie with his parents and Sir Patrick Stewart. Stefan Rousseau/PA

Alfie's mother, Hannah Deacon, was one of many campaigners to welcome the move.

She said: "As a family we were facing his death. Now we are facing his life, full of joy and hope which is something I wish for each and every person in this country who could benefit from this medicine."

Sir Mike Penning, co-chairman of the cross-party parliamentary group on Medical Cannabis Under Prescription, welcomed the move but said there had been a "disappointing reaction" from many health professionals so far.

He said: "Since the high-profile cases of the summer involving the young children with epilepsy there has been a very disappointing reaction from a large number of consultants and health trusts, with many refusing to even submit applications to the interim medical cannabis expert panel.

"Today's announcement puts the ball now firmly in the court of the health professionals and health authorities to approach this new and exciting field of UK medicine with an open mind."

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