Medical Cannabis UK - What are the rules?

Liz Filmer
07 Oct 2022

 Some UK patients have successfully secured cannabis prescriptions from doctors, while others purchase it illegally. CBD oil with a THC content greater than 0.2% in the UK is also illegal.

So let's look at the rules on medical cannabis in the UK. Do you qualify for a prescription, and how do you get one?

How do I get a Cannabis prescription? 

All doctors on the GMC register are permitted to prescribe cannabis. This includes a GP. They can prescribe under shared care arrangements with the guidance of a specialist. Doctors can prescribe cannabis for problems such

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Pain and neuropathy 
  • Epilepsy 
  • PTSD
  • ADHD
  • Panic attacks

The NHS does not currently prescribe cannabis routinely due to limited guidance for doctors, so it can be tough to convince your GP to issue you with a prescription. Cannabis is usually only offered after all other front-line medicines have proved ineffective. 

You are more likely to obtain a cannabis prescription if other medications have adverse side effects. Negative side effects include drowsiness, addiction, inability to concentrate, etc... Speak with your GP first and ensure they know of any side effects you have suffered. 

Medical Cannabis Clinics 

Several specialist cannabis clinics can provide further advice about medical cannabis requirements. A quick online search will provide you with a range of clinics that can help with Cannabis prescriptions. Here are a few of the most popular clinics in the UK;

How do I get a Private Cannabis prescription?

The chosen clinic will ask you to book a consultation costing between £99 to £300. It is worth getting a referral letter from your GP before booking a consultation. A referral letter will help speed up the process and avoid delays. The clinic will then access your medical records and decide whether you are entitled to a medical cannabis prescription. 

There is a much higher likelihood of you getting a cannabis prescription in the private sector. Very few cannabis prescriptions have been issued by the NHS thanks to the 'red tape and practical difficulties. There are, however, three exceptions where cannabis prescriptions are issued regularly. Those are for patients with multiple sclerosis and children with certain forms of epilepsy. Thirdly, for those undergoing chemotherapy and experiencing nausea and vomiting. 

Can I Drive with a Cannabis Prescription?

Yes, in theory. The problem is that the legal limit for cannabis in the body is 0%—a trace-level limit. Half a joint the day before could put you over the legal limit. The CPS has no obligation to prove that you were impaired by cannabis ounder its influence at the time of the arrest. If you are facing drug driving charges but have a prescription, you may have a plausible defence, and you should read Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Liz Filmer