The British Home Secretary has announced that specialized clinicians will be allowed to legally prescribe cannabis by the autumn. The announcement was the result of a two-part review the Secretary commissioned on June 19.
According to the Gov.UK website, “The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) carried out the second part of the review, considering the appropriate schedule for cannabis-derived medicinal products, based on the balance of harms and public health requirements. The ACMD recommended that such products meeting a clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product should be placed in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.”
This action is rooted in two developments in the U.K. Firstly, there has been intense pressure from the parents of children with intractable epilepsy. These parents have been routinely traveling to the U.S. to see if their child responds to cannabis-derived preparations like Charlotte’s Web. Secondly, the British based company, GW Pharmaceuticals, recently received U.S. FDA approval to market their anti-epilepsy drug, epidiolex. The company is awaiting action by the DEA to rescheduled appropriate cannabinoids so the new cannabis-derived preparation can be prescribed. The ACMD, according to the news release, “recommended that such products meeting a clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product should be placed in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.”
Other forms of cannabis will be kept under strict controls.
This move by U.K. officials will likely be copied by the DEA.
A recent article from the business newsletter Small Caps really underscores how curious the cannabis issue has become. The Australian company, Queensland Bauxite, is integrating medical cannabis into its corporate platform and has snagged a plum import/export license from Australia’s Office of Drug Control.
Mining is among the largest sectors in Australia’s economy with coal being the surprising #1 mineral mined. Most coal is exported to China. Bauxite is the principal ore of aluminum and Australia is the largest producer of alumina in the world.
But Australia is very ecology-minded and it is not surprising that mining companies might want to diversify to protect themselves in the future. Queensland Bauxite has made a dramatic statement of where it sees the future heading.
Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Wellcome Trust Library in London and review the archives of Elizabeth Brice and the UK chapter of the Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics (ACT). A history student from Bristol University alerted me to the existence of these archives. He was writing his undergraduate dissertation on the role of patients in changing the attitudes toward medical cannabis in the United Kingdom so it is no surprise that he focused on Elizabeth. For much of the 1990s Liz was THE face of medical cannabis in Britain. She was a powerful voice for the issue and she was also an MS patient.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is quite prevalent in Britain. At one time there was a theory that MS tended to cluster in cold climates. Whether that is true or not I don’t know but it does seem to me that most MS patients I have had the pleasure to know have been from northern climes. Elizabeth read that cannabis could help her MS and after some careful trials she determined that it was, indeed, very helpful. She set out to help others and almost single-handedly turned the tide of public opinion. She also became friends with a fellow named Geoffrey Guy who would establish GW Pharmaceuticals in England. Dr. Guy was determined to establish a cannabis-based medicine that would be available through the conventional channels of doctor-patient-pharmacist. He succeeded in developing Sativex. Liz was among the first to use the drug and found it quite helpful.
Sativex has been controversial but a recent study in Italy found it to be helpful for MS patients. Here is the link: https://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2018/06/29/sativex-relieves-pain-multiple-sclerosis-italian-study/. Liz would be happy to read this report. Unfortunately she died in 2011 at the age of 54, the same age as Robert was when he died (in 2001). These heroic patients get too little credit for today’s booming green rush. I’ll be writing more about Elizabeth and the other brave souls who were the true pioneers of medical cannabis.
Recently two U.S. cannabis reformers Steph Sherer of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and Michael Krawitz of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access (VMCA) traveled to Geneva to address a committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) about cannabis reform. In the complicated scheme of international drug control, WHO is similar to the U.S. Food and […]