The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has written to home secretary Sajid Javid to express the Society’s support for the rescheduling of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
It submitted an RPS policy statement, which recommends that clinicians should be able to treat patients with cannabis-based medicines “as they feel appropriate”.
The statement says: “The RPS would support moving cannabis to Schedule 2, which would give pharmaceutical scientists greater freedom to research its potential medicinal uses and to carry out clinical trials.”
The policy statement refers to research that has shown that cannabinoids can be used to treat severe refractory epilepsy that has failed to respond to standard anticonvulsant medications, is able to combat appetite loss in patients with cancer and AIDS, and is useful when used as anxiolytics in palliative care.
Ash Soni, president of the RPS, said there was “emerging evidence that cannabis may be of benefit to people living with a number of serious conditions”.
Many countries have already changed the law to facilitate research into this, he added.
On 19 June 2018, Javid announced that a two-part review, led by Sally Davies and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), would weigh up the benefits and risks of rescheduling cannabis. Javid made clear, though, that the government had no plans to legalise cannabis for recreational use.
The government has also announced the creation of a panel, also led by Davies, which would advise ministers on any applications from senior clinicians to prescribe cannabis-based medicines.