UK Medicinal Cannabis Industry Calls for Bold New Policies to Increase Patient Access and Clinical Understanding of Medicinal Cannabis

The UK’s industry leadership body, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis, today launches a report calling on the government to adopt novel, bolder approaches to policy making in relation to medicinal cannabis.

Three years after medicinal cannabis was first legalised in the UK, a diverse group of scientists, industry leaders, clinicians and campaigners have come together to argue for policy changes to promote better understanding of the benefits of medicinal cannabis, increased access to medicines for patients and a more regulatory requirement more conducive to institutional investment in the sector.

The report, Decalogue – Ideas to Increase Patient Access and Clinical Understanding of Medicinal Cannabis – sets out 10 new ideas including:

  • a new mechanism whereby clinical trials can be prioritised by an expert group and conducted at optimal pace, so as to ensure the earliest possible benefit to patients. Drawing on the seminally successful RECOVERY trial deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • licensing authority to be transferred from the Home Office to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)/MHRA for cannabinoid medicines being developed in an already highly regulated clinical trials environment.
  • a new clinical pilot study in primary care to assess the effects of community prescribing in a supported format.
  • the adoption of Patient Group Directions1 (PGDs) for medicinal cannabis which would allow healthcare professionals providing palliative care another option for their patients, when they consider it appropriate, based on individual patient needs including quality of life.
  • the removal of current restrictions on unlicensed medical cannabis products from the UK help to build the nation as a hub of medical cannabis knowledge and innovation.
  • immediate changes to the Proceeds of Crime Act to open up investment opportunities for the UK sector.

Steve Moore , Strategic Counsel, Centre for Medicinal Cannabis:

The report makes a compelling case for using existing governmental approaches to innovation and research and development to accelerate clinical studies, therapeutic understanding and patient access. It also exposes the absence of a coherent public policy strategic framework to support this new industry and its consequences. The medicinal cannabis industry can become a vital component of Britain’s life sciences sector and our aspiration to become a global scientific superpower but this now requires a nurturing approach from the government instead of the current reactive one.”

Paul Birch, Founder, Centre for Medicinal Cannabis:

“The size and scale of the UK’s medicinal cannabis sector will ultimately be determined by the ability of the industry to come together to engage constructively with the government. This report provides a roadmap of how this can be achieved.”

Dr Mikael Sodergren MBChB(Hons), DIC, PhD, FRCS:

“Learning from COVID-19, I sense that there is great support from all relevant stakeholders to redefine and modernise processes of drug development and medical cannabis could be the poster-boy of this new normal as we emerge from the pandemic. The issues, ideas, concepts, and proposals outlined in these essays represent the first step of this journey and signal a bright future for this growing sector.”

About The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis

The Centre for Medical Cannabis (CMC) is the UK’s first and only industry membership body for stakeholders operating in cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBMPs). More information about the CMC can be found at www.thecmcuk.org.