Medical cannabis patients will now now only have to wait a matter of days for their medication to be imported from abroad
Many have until now been forced to wait months for their cannabis to be sent from countries such as Canada, where an export certificate can take up to eight weeks to obtain.
From today, licensed wholesalers can import larger quantities of cannabis-based medicines and hold supplies for future use.
The government has also introduced new safeguards against drug addiction and misuse.
Patients with prescriptions for unlicensed cannabis medicines will have their prescriptions reviewed every 30 days, which could lead to treatment delays.
The government is working to make medical cannabis easier and cheaper to obtain where it is medically appropriate to do so.
It is working alongside patients and medical associations, using medical trails to grow the evidence base to support the prescription of cannabis for a wider range of conditions.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“The changes made today are a tremendous step towards improving the supply of cannabis-based medicinal products by helping to ensure quicker and more reliable access for patients.
“But we still have a long way to go. We need more research into the quality and safety of these medicines, and to do all we can to cut down the costs and remove barriers so that, when appropriate, patients can access it, including on the NHS.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
“I have taken swift action to allow specialist doctors to issue prescriptions for cannabis-based medicinal products, when they consider their patients would benefit from this treatment.
“This will allow patients and their families with challenging conditions to access them more easily, when appropriate, to ensure they can be treated in days, not months.”