Epidiolex will be legally prescribed in the UK – Image: Epidiolex

From January 6, Epidiolex, a cannabis-based medicine used for severe epilepsy, will be able to be prescribed by NHS doctors. However, essential cannabis derived medicine is still not accessible to everyone…

NHS England announced today that doctors will be able to prescribe Epidiolex as of January 6 2020.

The medicine that is used to treat two severe forms of epilepsy – Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome – will be available for children above the age of two and adults who are eligible.

Clinical trials have shown that the oral solution containing CBD, could reduce the number of seizures by up to 40% in some children, however there are still restrictions on who may be able to access the drug.

Hannah Deacon, who has fought a long battle with medicinal cannabis laws in the UK to treat her son Alfie’s epilepsy says the change is not enough.

Speaking to Hemp and CBD Media she said: “I think it’s a step in the right direction for a small amount of patients, but falls hugely short for many thousands of other patients in the UK who need access to medical cannabis on prescription.

“Epidiolex is only licensed for two conditions so access is very restricted. There are huge improvements to be made in allowing access for all who need it and huge improvements to be made in allowing access for all who need it.”

With around 3,000 people with Dravet and 5,000 with Lennox Gastaut syndrome in England, the change will allow Epidiolex medicine to be prescribed to those who prove eligible.

Despite this, medicine containing THC is still restricted in the UK, leaving anyone outside of the two syndromes with no access to potentially life changing medicinal cannabis.

Peter Reynolds, cannabis law and politics expert has stated that Epidiolex only works for a duration of six to 24 months and a small amount of THC needs to be implemented into medicinal products: “A small amount of THC is essential which is why UK law was changed over a year ago.

“NHS England, NICE and doctors’ professional bodies are still failing to follow evidence and continue to make spurious claims about tiny amounts of THC being dangerous.”

Hannah also agreed that NICE needs to do more: “NICE are currently seeing this as a pharmaceutical model and it’s not.

“It must be seen as exceptional and they must use real world data and observational trials to gather data.

“Many thousands will suffer due to this being so restrictive.”

Watch Hannah’s full insight into Nice guidelines here

Hannah Deacon will be speaking at the next Hemp & CBD Expo at the NEC, Birmingham on the seminar stage. If you’ve got questions for her make sure to visit the Expo for the chance to have your questions addressed. Free tickets are available now here


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