In a measure that applies to England, Wales, and Scotland, doctors will be able to now legally prescribe medicinal cannabis starting November 1st.
The move came after the government felt pressure from two highly publicized cases of young patients with epilepsy that rely on marijuana based treatments.
The government was forced to review its policy with Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for an urgent review of cannabis-based medicinal products over the summer.
Javid’s office had said in July that it had decided that “senior clinicians will be able to prescribe the medicines to patients with an exceptional clinical need.”
The change was announced on Thursday and Javid stated, “Having been moved by heartbreaking cases involving sick children, it was important to me that we took swift action to help those who can benefit from medicinal cannabis.”
Billy Caldwell, a 12-year old boy who relies on medicinal cannabis, was one of the cases to make the government review their policy. His mother, Charlotte Caldwell, told Sky News back in July: “I applaud the home secretary for his swift movements in rescheduling cannabis. To me, now the home secretary is king of hearts.”
General practice doctors will not be authorized to prescribe the cannabis-based medicines, the Home Office however said and that prescription decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis — “only when the patient has an unmet special clinical need that cannot be met by licensed products.”