Whilst there is strong scientific evidence that cannabis is a drug which can harm people's mental and physical health, and damage communities, recent cases have shown the need to look more closely at the use of cannabis-based medicine in the healthcare sector in the UK. This is why the Government decided it was appropriate to review the scheduling of cannabis.
The Home Secretary took the decision to reschedule these products following that review last November. This decision means that senior clinicians will be able to prescribe the medicines to patients with an exceptional clinical need. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) will carry out a longer-term review on rescheduling and make further recommendations within 12 months.
The Chief Medical Officer has written to NHS England outlining guidance to clinicians following the re-scheduling. To address the points you raise, cannabis-based products can be prescribed, but only by specialist hospital doctors in a small number of cases, and not by GPs. However if a patient is not already in touch with a specialist doctor they can be referred to one by their GP if the doctor deems this appropriate.
The treatments can be prescribed in cases of children with rare, severe forms of epilepsy, adults with vomiting or nausea caused by chemotherapy and patients with muscle stiffness caused by multiple sclerosis.
To support specialist clinicians’ prescribing decisions, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has been asked by the Department of Health and Social Care to produce a clinical guideline on the prescribing of medicinal cannabis products for use in humans. This guidance is expected by October 2019 at the latest.
I am unable to advise when medicinal cannabis will become available in Stockport as this will be subject to a national review by NICE and the ACMD. I would always advise anyone to speak with their GP on the best steps in order to be referred to a specialist doctor.