Medical Cannabis in the UK:the (false) dawn of a new era?

Bone, Melissa and Potter, Gary (2021) Medical Cannabis in the UK:the (false) dawn of a new era? In: The Routledge Handbook of Post-Prohibition Cannabis Research. Routledge, London. ISBN 9780367335434

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Officially, since November 2018, medical cannabis in the UK has been legal if authorised by a specialist physician. In reality, while access to CBD products is widespread (and does not need authorisation by a doctor), legal access to preparations containing THC 2 remains highly constrained. However, demand for medical cannabis products is high, and many thousands of people do use cannabis medicinally but remain dependent on illegal sources. While the 2018 change in the law initially offered hope to those using medical cannabis illegally, the practical impact of the changes thus far has been infinitesimal. Those for whom medical cannabis may be beneficial continue to face a stark choice: either suffer the symptoms that could be treated were cannabis legally available or resort to committing criminal offences in pursuit of relief from their conditions. In this chapter we discuss access to medical cannabis in the UK. We start with an overview of the demand for medical cannabis in the UK and how this demand has, under prohibition, been met by relying on criminal activity. We then outline the legal situation regarding medical cannabis in the UK following the changes of November 2018. Finally, we speculate on future developments, asking whether the 2018 changes really are the beginning of a new era of legal access to medical cannabis or merely a political sop to media and public pressure with little genuine impact for those who could benefit from medical cannabis.

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04 Aug 2021 13:04
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19 Sep 2023 03:36