NORMAN CALLS FOR CANNABIS REVIEW
August 14 2014.
Local Lib Dem MP Norman Baker, Minister for Crime Prevention, wants the Department of Health to consider broadening the range of medical conditions for which cannabis can be used.
In the UK, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 enables the availability of controlled drugs for medicinal purposes through licensing under schedules 2-4 to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. Cannabis is listed in schedule 1 to the Regulations. This means that it has no recognised medicinal use and subject to the strictest control restrictions.
Norman says: "I think it is time to reconsider medicinal properties of cannabis, given what I have learnt in my role as a Minister. I have seen more and more evidence that cannabis can provide genuine medical benefits to treat a number of conditions. There is a growing body of research that shows the medical properties of chemical components of cannabis. We should seriously consider whether it is valuable to treat conditions such as MS, glaucoma, chronic and neurogenic pain and the side effects from chemotherapy and HIV/AIDS treatments.
"I am uncomfortable that there are credible people I have met who tell me that cannabis is the only substance that helps relieve their condition but not only are they stopped from accessing it officially but have to break the law to help their health.
"Other countries recognise that cannabis does have medicinal benefit and we need to look again at this to help people who are ill. This is a quite separate matter from the recreational use of cannabis which is not at issue here.
"We already prescribe cannabinoid treatments for some of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. I have today written to Jeremy Hunt asking him to review the benefits of cannabis, so that we can lower the restrictions on the development of cannabis-based medicines. This could help many people suffering from a range of conditions.
"Obviously we have to do this right, we need to ensure that the proper medical processes are applied. But I have always said that we should follow the evidence, even if that takes us to uncomfortable areas of policy-making."