Three professors and a crossbench peer have written to Well being Secretary Matt Hancock urging him to chill out the restrictions across the prescription of medicinal cannabis. They consider the transfer would assist curb the spiralling variety of sufferers hooked on probably lethal prescription painkillers resembling opioids. They need medicinal cannabis to be accessible to individuals with situations resembling epilepsy, power ache, nervousness and a number of sclerosis.
Professor David Nutt, a number one drug professional at Imperial School London, Professor Lawrence Phillips, an professional in choice science and medicines on the London College of Economics, and Professor Stephen Bazire, a guide pharmacist, along with crossbench peer Baroness Molly Meacher, are joint signatories.
A bunch of greater than 100 crossparty MPs, together with Liberal Democrat chief Jo Swinson, Dr Phillip Lee, Labour MP for Bracknell, and shadow well being secretary Barbara Keeley, added their weight to the marketing campaign, writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
They need him to “intervene urgently on behalf of susceptible households… who shouldn’t be left to endure with out an NHS prescription [for medicinal cannabis].”
Their letter was supported by marketing campaign group Finish Our Ache – sufferers and family members who consider their situations may very well be successfully handled with medicinal cannabis.
The teams argue the present system will not be working. Beneath present guidelines launched final November, following a marketing campaign by dad and mom of kids with extreme epilepsy, specialists are allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis.
Nonetheless, since then there have been no NHS prescriptions for it.
Specialists say it is because the specialists face virtually insurmountable bureaucratic hurdles, together with getting a senior medical countersignature on prescriptions and overcoming advanced importation guidelines.
Prof Nutt stated: “That is an outrageous state of affairs. There are many medical doctors who’re very curious about prescribing medicinal cannabis however they’re scared, as they don’t seem to be skilled or taught how to take action.
“Stress-free the foundations is a like a sizzling potato. Nobody desires to decide in case they get criticised.
“However I consider widespread prescription of medicinal cannabis would cut back the chance of sufferers turning into hooked on long-term opioids and it’s manner safer when it comes to unintended effects and dependence.”
Specialists additionally say the issue affecting NHS prescriptions has led to lots of of individuals paying as much as £1,000 a month for personal prescriptions of medical cannabis.
Of their letter to Mr Hancock, the senior medical doctors argue the purple tape must be eliminated and guidelines additional relaxed, so GPs can prescribe medicinal cannabis.
The professors and Baroness Meacher acknowledged: “We agree with the very many sufferers who see CBPMs [medicinal cannabis] as offering a big advance in medical therapy for a lot of lots of of hundreds of individuals for whom present medicines are both ineffective or poorly tolerated.”
They add: “In addition they provide important financial savings to the NHS when it comes to diminished hospital stays and diminished prescribing of different medicines, notably opioids for power ache.
“The failure of the medical and pharmacy professions to embrace their being made ‘authorized’… is a good fear to sufferers and carers, and can have already got led to extra preventable deaths from situations resembling epilepsy.”
The medics are additionally calling for correct coaching for GPs and specialists in easy methods to greatest prescribe it.
Professor Mike Barnes, a guide neurologist at Newcastle College, added: “GPs ought to prescribe cannabis merchandise as a result of they’re used to managing sufferers’ signs.”
The marketing campaign follows a Public Well being England assessment which confirmed 1 / 4 of adults use robust painkillers, anti-depressants and sleeping tablets, for situations which some say may very well be extra safely and successfully alleviated by medicinal cannabis.
Round 30 nations have given the inexperienced gentle to medical cannabis, in addition to a handful of others that permit the drug for use below strict pointers.
These embody components of California, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Greece, Norway, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Cyprus and Peru.
Prof Nutt is launching an impartial trial in November involving 20,000 sufferers which can research medicinal cannabis. He has additionally established a UK charity, Drug Science, to analysis the harms and advantages of unlawful medicine.
A few of the situations consultants consider may be handled embody varied types of ache, epilepsy, nausea, nervousness, despair and signs related to MS, insomnia and Tourette’s. Dr Frank D’Ambrosio, a California-based surgeon who has been prescribing medicinal cannabis to greater than 4,000 sufferers, visited the UK to foyer the Authorities to chill out its “basically flawed and restrictive system”.
A spokeswoman for the Government drug watchdog, the Nationwide Institute for Well being and Care Excellence, stated there’s a “lack of medical proof to assist using cannabis merchandise”.
Nonetheless, she added NICE had beneficial additional analysis.
A Division of Well being spokesman stated: “We sympathise with these households coping with difficult situations. The legislation has been modified and the Authorities is urgently working to enhance the proof base to supply clinicians with additional assist and steering on prescribing the place acceptable.”