The National Health Service (NHS) approved two cannabis-based drugs for treating epilepsy, specifically children with epilepsy. Now doctors can prescribe medicines called Epidyolex and Sativex to patients with childhood epilepsy.
On 11 November 2019 BBC published an article revealing the approval of cannabis-based drugs by NHS. Although Epidyolex was approved by the European Union in September 2019, NHS has not approved the use of cannabis-based medicines due to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines.
British citizens had mixed views on the approval of medicines that have cannabis, but none of the responses were negative. One person said: “If that works, I don’t have anything against it.”
Some shared the opinion that there is a lack of high-quality and high-attention research on the medical use of cannabis for treating conditions, such as epilepsy. One woman said: “I think if it’s for medicinal purposes, that’s absolutely fine, but I’m not sure about the other purpose of it. ”
CBD has been approved in the UK for use as a supplement and is now available in forms of oil, sprays for oral use, creams and balms. People who used it have had mixed opinions. One of the responses claimed: “CBD Oil is usually proved to be effective so I guess maybe cannabis is just an element to it, but I’m not sure. ”
One of the points made was that there were legal aspects to the situation. According to statista.com, the number of cannabis related offences in 2018/19 was 151.47 thousand. One of the concerns for the public is the potential reduction in crime rate in case if cannabis would be legalised as the result of ongoing approval of cannabis-containing medicines. “It could help but does it help in countries where cannabis is illegal? If it is then it will help cannabis be legalised? I mean, for example, in Amsterdam cannabis is legal. If the crime rate is lower in Amsterdam, then I don’t see why it shouldn’t be legalised somewhere else.”
According to The Cannabis Radar website, there was not enough high-quality research on medical use of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) for treating severe child epilepsy. However, the BBC article stated: “Clinical trials have shown the oral solution, which contains cannabidiol (CBD), could reduce the number of seizures by up to 40% in some children.” With the effectiveness proved by the data collected, NHS has decided that it was time to approve the use of Epidyolex in the UK, with Sativex being included as well.
Epidyolex is a drug that contains CBD and it does not contain THC, which is the psychoactive substance that causes changes brain function and cause reality alterations and mood changes. Sativex contains both CBD and THC, increasing its effectiveness for treating epilepsy.