Cannabis prescriptions on the NHS are permitted only in very specific circumstances. Here, we speak to people who would like to see the drug made available for medicinal, rather than just medical use.
Home secretary Sajid Javid introduced legislation on November 1 last year which would make it possible for people to legally use cannabis for medicinal reasons.
The change meant medicinal cannabis products were moved from schedule 1, meaning they have no medicinal value, to schedule 2, meaning that doctors were allowed to prescribe them.
Only a very small number of people have been affected by the change, as General Medical Council guidelines allow doctors to prescribe cannabis only when they feel a licenced medicine will not help their patient.
There are only a small number of cannabis-derived medications available for prescription; Epidyolex, which is used to help people with severe epilepsy, and Nabilone, which is largely used to help cancer patients who are suffering from nausea due to chemotherapy.
Sativex is another licensed product in the UK that can be used as treatment of MS related spasticity
Doctors are currently unlikely to choose to prescribe cannabis for any other reason, mainly because very few clinical trials have proven cannabis can help a wider range of conditions and many medical complaints can be treated using licenced alternative drugs.
But campaigners have said that cannabis is effective at treating a host of other physical and psychological complaints and would like to see doctors prescribe it for those conditions too.
Lincolnshire Live spoke to people who use cannabis for medicinal purposes to find out why they use marijuana medicinally and what they think of the legalisation process, one year on.
“I was prescribed morphine and ended up becoming an addict.”
A 36 year-old man from Lincoln began using marijuana medicinally after an accident at work left him in agonising pain.
He said: “I had my entire right arm crushed in an accident at work. I had to have my arm reconstructed and have been left with several metal rods that essentially hold my arm together.
“The pain medication I was prescribed to manage my pain was horrendous. I was prescribed morphine and ended up becoming an addict.
“I couldn’t stop taking it and even with the morphine, the pain I was in day to day was unimaginable.
“A friend, who saw the state I was in from my morphine addiction, suggested trying marijuana to take away the pain which I did, and straight away it was like my entire body purged of any of the pain I felt.
“The only way I can describe the withdrawal from morphine is if you’ve ever seen the film Trainspotting, it’s exactly like that.
“I think one of the worst side effects was that I was constipated for about a month. I was an absolute wreck but eventually the withdrawal stopped.
“Since then I’ve found that marijuana has completely revolutionised my life and I have been pain free ever since.”
‘We want people to have the right to grow their own’
Stacey, 28, is a member of the group cannabis campaign group ‘UKCSC’, and has been a user of cannabis for a number of years. She started using cannabis to manage her mental health when the antidepressants she was taking failed to work.
She said: “What we’re fighting for and have always fought for is the right for people to grow their own.
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