By David Nutt, Steve Bazire, Lawrence D Phillips, and Anne Katrin Schlag - Drug Science

In November 2018 when the UK made cannabis-based products for medicinal use (CBPMs) legal most people assumed these would immediately be made available to patients, but they were wrong. In the year since almost no National Health Service (NHS) prescriptions have been issued and less than a hundred have been made available from private providers at a cost of at least £1000 a month.

For these reasons, some parents of children with severe epilepsy continue to go overseas to get their children access to the only treatment which has proven to be effective for their condition, that is, a cannabinoid medication. Moreover, the vast majority of the estimated 1.4million medical cannabis users source from the black market with its problems of illegality, unknown quality, content and provenance. Given the substantial evidence of the utility of CBPMs in many disorders as identified in the US National Academy of Sciences review in 2017 this failure of delivery in the UK seems odd and, to many, inexcusable.