Cannabis-based medical treatments will soon be available within the National Health Service in both England and Wales following a landmark decision this week.
In the guidelines published Monday, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence outlined the circumstances under which such treatment would be appropriate, including childhood epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea.
The institute, a public body that provides guidance on health care matters in the United Kingdom, said that the initial cannabis prescription “must be made by a specialist medical practitioner,” and that the specialist “should also have a special interest in the condition being treated.” For children, “the initiating prescriber should also be a tertiary [pediatric] specialist,” the institute said.
The guidelines represent a milestone for Britain, where laws governing pot use are stricter than other countries in Europe, and where medical cannabis has been slow to roll out.
Turning a New Leaf
But attitudes are changing quickly among UK policymakers. British home secretary Sajid Javid said last year that physicians in the UK would be able to prescribe medical marijuana for patients, a decision that came after a long-running campaign inspired by two high-profile cases involving children who suffer from a form of