Is Cannabis Legal In The UK?
Yes! Cannabis prescriptions written by a specialist doctor registered on the General Medical Council (GMC) is legal. Although recreational use is still not legal in the UK.
When prescribed medical cannabis in the form of flower (flos), it can only be consumed using a dry-herb vaporiser and cannot be inhaled using a bong/pipe/joint or any other method of combustion.
Medical Cannabis is available in; Dry Herb Flower, Oils, Vape Cartridges, Capsules and Inhalers.
What Are My Rights As A Medical Cannabis Patient?
Here you will be able to find resources to help medical cannabis patients understand their rights and where they stand with their prescription. None of the resources provided is legal advice, if you seek legal advice please contact an experienced lawyer.
UK Medical Cannabis Laws
As of November 1st, 2018, cannabis has been legal for medicinal use in the United Kingdom. The UK government has created a new term, "CBPM" (Cannabis Based Prescription Medication), for cannabis that is prescribed for medical use.
CBPMs are classified as Schedule 2 drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. This means that CBPMs can be prescribed as Specials medication and must be prescribed by a doctor registered with the GMC (General Medical Council). GPs can also prescribe CBPMs under a shared care agreement.
It's important to note that controlled substances such as THC, unless it's an exempt product or a cannabis-based product for medicinal use in humans (CBPM), are still considered Schedule 1 drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which means they are illegal to possess and supply.
According to the NHS website;
How Can I Protect Myself From Police Discrimination?
It's always good to be informative and provide awareness for the people around you. Unfortunately patients have noticed this has extended to supplying information and guiding the UK Police Force.
Here are a few steps medical cannabis patients can take;
- Follow the instructions on your prescription. Combustion (smoking) medical cannabis is not seen as medically appropriate, so if you are prescribed dried cannabis flower you will be required to use a dry herb vaporiser, similar to the MHRA approved Mighty Medic or Volcano Medic.
- Keep your prescription medication in its original container/packaging with the dispensing label.
- Keep a printed copy of your recent clinic letter or a copy of your FP10 prescription with your medication.
- Carry photo ID (Passport, Driving License, 'PASS' ID) when taking your prescription in public.
- Respect people and venues you attend, always ask for permission if you need to take your medication or require the use of your vaporiser in indoor public places. Some locations may allow this but the general idea is to use the smoking/vaping areas when vaping medical cannabis.
Note: Other forms of ID, such as a CanCard, is not an approved method of identifying a prescription, according to the DHSC, and presenting this card instead of the information stated above could potentially land patients in trouble with the law.
Taking Medical Cannabis To Public Venues
You are not allowed to use your vaporiser device indoors without permission from the owner/management of the venue. You are however allowed to carry your medication with the correct documents alongside it. Making reasonable adjustments to accommodate your medicinal use is a right you have as a disabled individual under the equality act 2010, this could simply be identifying a safe and suitable space in the smoking area of the venue.
It is important to note that while the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is legal in the UK, it is still considered a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Therefore, when travelling with your medical cannabis prescription, it is crucial to follow the guidelines set by the UK government and the country you are travelling to.
When leaving the UK with your medical cannabis prescription, it is recommended that you have a copy of the FP10 prescription or a letter from the prescribing clinic with you, along with the medication in its original container and the dispensing label. It is also important to note that you should only take the amount of medication necessary for the duration of your travel. Some countries may allow up to 3 months worth of medication, but it is best to check with the embassy of the country you are visiting beforehand.
It is important to note that possession of cannabis is illegal in many countries and can result in severe penalties, including fines or imprisonment. Therefore, it is crucial to check the laws of the country you are visiting before travelling with your medical cannabis prescription. Additionally, it is also recommended to carry a letter from your doctor or clinic, explaining the use of your medication.
It is also important to note that some countries may have different import laws for prescription medicine and controlled drugs, so be sure to check with the embassy of the country you are visiting before travelling with your medical cannabis prescription.
It is also important to note that in many cases, the co-operation from international countries in regards to travelling with medical cannabis prescriptions may vary.