Your rights as a medical cannabis patient
As a patient with a legal medical cannabis prescription in the UK, you have choices about how you fulfil your prescription and obtain your medication.
Patients have no obligation to use a specific pharmacy, such as a medical cannabis dispensary linked to or recommended by the doctor or clinic who wrote your prescription.
You are free to have your prescription dispensed wherever is best for you. When you choose a specialist pharmacy such as Leyes Lane, you can be assured they are experienced in dispensing medical cannabis at fair prices.
This guide contains a summary and commonly asked questions. If you are unsure about any aspect of medical cannabis prescription or treatment, then please seek consultation with your clinician or contact us.
Support for patients
Over the last few years, patients have come together to campaign for increased access to medical cannabis and to support one another throughout the process of obtaining a legal cannabis prescription.
Below, you’ll also find a link to the Cannabis Industry Council, where you can find trusted clinics specialising in medical cannabis.
Medcan Family Foundation is a non-profit community for parents of children living with severe epilepsy and autism. They provide support, education and advice to parents about accessing medical cannabis for children with this condition. Hannah Deacon is a Co-Founder and Chair of Trustees.
PLEA, which stands for Patient Led Access for Engagement, is a volunteer-led group that works with patients, doctors and researchers to remove barriers to access. They want to ensure that patient voices are heard. PLEA also has a great resource for patients looking to access this treatment – view their Medical Cannabis Access Scheme Directory for more information.
The Cannabis Industry Council maintains a directory of members including medical cannabis clinics in the UK.
FAQs for patients
Medical cannabis became legal on 1 November 2018 following a campaign by parents including Botanical Health Dispensary’s Hannah Deacon.
Though to date, there have been only three NHS prescriptions for whole plant cannabis written, the private market is thriving with tens of thousands of patients benefiting from cannabis-based medicines.
In the UK, medical cannabis can be prescribed for a range of health conditions where there is an unmet need – this means when previously prescribed pharmaceutical medications have not worked or provided relief for patients.
Medical cannabis can be prescribed for people living with pain, psychiatric and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, for people living with neurological conditions such as spasticity and migraine, for people with cancer, for those receiving palliative care and for children living with severe epilepsy.
Though a very safe medicine, medical cannabis is not suitable for everyone and can have side effects. Your doctor will take a medical history to check that you are permitted to be prescribed medical cannabis.
For example, people with active schizophrenia may not be able to obtain a prescription. Common side effects are generally mild and can include a dry mouth, dizziness, disorientation and feeling sleepy. Some people can also feel sick or have diarrhoea.
Finding a doctor who is trained in medical cannabis is getting easier as more and more doctors are trained. Patient support groups including MedCan Support and PLEA have good resources about finding a doctor or clinic and you can also visit the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society who maintain a directory of clinics.
You have 28 days from the prescription issue date to have your medical cannabis product dispensed by a pharmacy. The prescription issue date is considered Day 1, so this means your medication must be received by you by the 28th day.
Through Leyes Lane Pharmacy, we can facilitate the dispensing of medical cannabis products from Althea, Aurora, Bedrocan, Cellen, Emmac /Rokshaw (Adven range), GW Pharma, Khiron, Lyphe Group (Noidecs), Medcan SA, Spectrum and Tilray.
In the UK, Home Office Approval is required for every medical cannabis prescription dispensed. The pharmacy must send a copy of the prescription to the suppliers before they can obtain the medication to dispense. None of this can be done until the pharmacy receives the prescription, so this adds a few extra days to the dispensing process.
Questions? Talk to us.
For questions about Botanical Health Dispensary, prescribing, or dispensing, please get in touch.