Thursday, January 28News For London

Cannabis legalised for medicinal use

Photograph by Luca Fritze 

Two types of cannabis-based medicines have been approved for use by the NHS to treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and epilepsy.

Epidyolex, containing the cannabis extract CBD (short for cannabidiol) can now be prescribed to children due to the newly released guidance of the NHS. Epidyolex is a medicine used to soothe spasms caused by epilepsy. Similarly, the spray Sativex, also containing cannabis-based medicine, was recommended to treat muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis.

According to the BBC, clinical trials have proven that with these drugs, seizures can be reduced by 40% for children who suffer from Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Both of the newly approved medicines do not contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), this is the  psycho-active component of the cannabis plant which has an effect on the brain and the psyche, and is known to be addictive.

The use of medicines containing THC has yet to be verified by medical communities. Charities treating children with epilepsy had hoped for a reform on the use of THC containing medicines, as they believe them to be very successful for their patients. Currently, families who wish for there epileptic children to receive this medication are forced to take their children to other countries, where the treatment has been legalised already.

However, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) stated that there is not enough evidence to suggest that these cannabis based drugs are suitable for patients who are suffering from chronic pain.

Our reporters went to the streets of London to find out what the public thought about the legalisation of cannabis-based drugs for medical use.

 

The introduction of cannabis is medical treatment has raised further discussion about where the UK stands on the decriminalisation of cannabis for non-medicinal use. In states across America, Canada and in certain areas of Europe, Cannabis has been legalised for recreational use. In Canada, the legalisation on cannabis was met with a decrease in crime that varied in severity across the province and territories.

Although evidence suggests there might be a positive impact of the decriminalisation of cannabis, many people in the UK still consider cannabis to be a gateway drug that leads to the use of ‘hard’ drugs/.

The legalisation of cannabis would also allow for taxation and safer regulation of cannabis. This would allow more money to flow back into public services and allow safety standards to be introduced to ensure the safety of recreational users.

Recently Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, showed interest in the legalisation of the use of the plant because it could reduce crime and increase police capacity at the same time. Rather than focusing on combating cannabis related crime, police can refocus their efforts to target alternative criminal problems in the UK.


Screenshot of Mr. Khan’s Tweet on the legalisation of cannabis

We asked Londoners what they think about Sadiq Khan’s proposed idea to decriminalise cannabis as a recreational drug for general use.he