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Cannabis, MS and the law

In November 2018, the UK Government made cannabis for medicinal use legal. This means that specialist doctors, like neurologists, are able to prescribe cannabis for medicinal use to some people with MS. Other treatment options have to be explored first.

What the change in the law means

Despite the law changing, right now cannabis as a medicine is no easier to get than it was before. Your chances of getting a prescription are unfortunately very slim. This might change as doctors get longer term, more detailed guidance on prescribing cannabis-based products in October 2019.

The change in the law doesn’t give you an automatic right to a prescription for cannabis-based products. But you do have a right to talk about this with your health professionals.

The change in the law didn’t cover the cannabis-based drug Sativex, used to treat spasticity in MS. It’s still not generally available on the NHS across the UK (it’s only available on the NHS in Wales). This is because its benefits aren’t seen to be worth what it costs. Sativex isn’t likely to become any easier to get.

Possessing, producing and supplying cannabis

Cannabis is a class-B drug in the UK. Possessing, producing and supplying it are against the law. ‘Supply’ includes sharing the drug with someone or giving it (even for free) to friends or relatives.

The law doesn’t allow you to use the fact you were using cannabis to help with your MS symptoms as a defence.

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