CBD Available Soon on the NHS?
CBD could soon be available on the NHS, according to reports. The Independent have claimed that the producers of the MediPen – a CBD vaporiser – have been “consulting with a group of production and regulatory support pharmacists from the NHS for the past few months, who have been testing their proprietary cannabis oil formulation.”
No one from the NHS has been able to comment, thanks to a nondisclosure agreement which prevents them from sharing client information, but if MediPen’s claims are true, this could potentially be a watershed moment for medical cannabis in the UK.
MediPen managing director Jordan Owen told the Independent, “As the first consumer cannabis product to be tested by the NHS, we are confident that this will go a long way towards creating a properly regulated cannabis market in the UK and are extremely excited to see what the future holds.”
Their hope, it would seem, is that their vape pen could help to legitimise cannabis medicine in the eyes of the people who would normally be staunch opponents of any kind of drug policy reform. They could well be on to something, at least in terms of normalising this particular form of cannabis product. However, the legal status of CBD itself is something of a grey area, so he’d be well advised to not count his chickens just yet. The country is currently run by one of the biggest drug warriors around, and she could certainly make trouble for the company if she so wished.
There is definitely reason to be optimistic, however. As an NHS spokesperson pointed out to the Indy, this would not actually be the first time that a cannabis product has been licensed in the UK. We already have Sativex, which of course contains CBD as well as THC. However, Sativex’s prohibitively high price (and reported low efficacy) led to it being essentially blacklisted by NICE in most of the UK. It’s still possible to get on a private prescription, but it’s far from simple. The MediPen could change all that, in theory at least.
The MediPen is already available in the UK, and will be regardless of what NHS bosses decide. Should they endorse it, though, it will be a huge moment for those who campaign for the medical use of cannabis. It would, yet again, put the government in the position of having to justify their continuing refusal to move cannabis out of Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. According to that Act, cannabis has no medical benefits whatsoever, and a high potential for abuse.
They’ve already weaselled their way out of rescheduling once, when Sativex was first licensed, by creating a whole new schedule just for GW Pharmaceutical’s cannabis/alcohol tincture. They could decide to do the same for CBD or, more likely, they could ignore the issue altogether, as they have done up to this point. Whatever they do, though, the pressure on them is bound to increase as the ‘logic’ behind cannabis prohibition continues to crumble around their heads.
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