DOCTORS are now able to prescribe cannabis oil to patients in a long-awaited change to regulations.
It comes as two medicines made from the cannabis plant have been recommended for use on the NHS for the first time.
What is cannabis oil and is it legal in the UK?
CBD cannabis oil is a substance extracted from the cannabis plant by steam distillation.
Cannabis oil is usually consumed orally, and has a very distinct taste.
This low-concentrate version of the oil is available to buy in the UK and is not illegal.
THC (or Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component in cannabis that makes users feel “high”.
Two cannabis-based drugs that help with epilepsy and MS have been approved for the NHS.
Epidyolex is recommended for two rare types of epilepsy while the spray Sativex can ease muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis.
What is cannabis oil used for?
Cannabis oil can be beneficial in a variety of ways, from helping promote sleep to boosting appetite and reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
It is also said to have skincare benefits, such as preventing signs of ageing and protecting against eczema and psoriasis, so can also be applied to the surface of the skin.
Though research is limited, there is evidence to support the idea that medical marijuana, which contains small amounts of the illegal compound THC, can alleviate some of the side-effects of cancer treatment including nausea during chemotherapy.
And while it is different, some accounts from users have claimed to find similar benefits from using cannabis oil, though this has never been scientifically backed by doctors, so is not advised as an alternative to other treatments.
One type of oil or Cannabidol is CBD which has been promoted as a possible treatment method for those living with addiction or anxiety.
However CBD products – while legal – have not been approved for use in the US and there are possible side effects including irritability and nausea.
When will it be available on prescription?
Campaigners have welcomed the go-ahead but said thousands of other people who could benefit from cannabis-based medicines were left in limbo.
Millie Hinton, from the group End Our Pain, said it had been “a massive missed opportunity”.
However, many have been reluctant to do so, citing a lack of guidance and costing concerns.
It has forced some families to buy the drugs abroad and bring them into the UK illegally.
The latest guidance comes after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence looked at the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicines for several conditions.
It decided up to 9,000 people with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes and 10,000 MS sufferers can be prescribed the two drugs.
But Nice drew the line at drugs containing THC — the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis — to relieve pain.
Article credit to The Sun