Hundreds of individuals within the UK are turning to non-public clinics for medical hashish, BBC News has been instructed.
Since its legalisation in November 2018, there have been only a few, if any, prescriptions for medical hashish containing THC on the NHS.
And this has led some sufferers, with circumstances resembling epilepsy and MS, to pay as much as £800 a month privately.
The authorities stated it sympathised with households “dealing so courageously with difficult circumstances”.
Cheryl Keen has been attempting to get medical hashish on the NHS for her daughter Charlotte – who has mind injury and epilepsy – however has been refused twice.
And she had been instructed it was too costly and she or he had not but tried all the opposite obtainable choices, she stated.
“Nothing has occurred, nothing has modified [since the legalisation],” Ms Keen stated.
“It’s completely disgusting that anybody is having to pay to go personal,” she added – one thing she can not afford to do.
Campaign teams say by not prescribing hashish medicines with THC, the NHS is limiting therapy choices for sufferers.
A review earlier this month by NHS England, nonetheless, highlighted a scarcity of proof in regards to the long-term security and effectiveness of medical hashish.
NICE stated it was unable to make a suggestion about the usage of cannabis-based medicines for extreme treatment-resistant epilepsy “as a result of there was a scarcity of clear proof that these therapies present any advantages”.
And this has led to the introduction of personal clinics.
Grow Biotech, which handles about three-quarters of all medical hashish imported into the UK, stated as of July it had acquired greater than 100 requests for personal prescriptions – of which about 60 had been fulfilled.
The new London department of The Medical Cannabis Clinics has not but opened however stated it had 162 sufferers on its ready listing – with circumstances resembling epilepsy, Parkinson’s, post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD) and fibromyalgia.
“Everyone can get an appointment to come back right here however not everybody leaves with a prescription for hashish,” its director, Prof Mike Barnes, stated.
“There are some circumstances for which there’s good proof for hashish to be helpful, so that you’d should have a type of circumstances – like ache, anxiousness, or nausea and illness in chemotherapy or epilepsy.”
The clinic says consultations are carried out to make sure potential sufferers have tried all cheap licensed treatment for his or her circumstances and reached “the top of the street for therapy”.
Prof Barnes described the service as a “lifeline for sufferers in want”.
Prescriptions price between £600 and £800 a month however Prof Mike Barnes rejected any suggestion the clinic was exploiting sufferers.
“This is the one means sufferers who’re in important want can get entry to this medication,” he stated.
Government ‘failing sufferers’
A report final month by the Health and Social Care Committee stated the hopes of sufferers and households had been unfairly raised when docs have been allowed to prescribe hashish.
Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, who sits on the committee, instructed BBC News the federal government was “failing sufferers”.
“If something [since its legalisation], it is turn out to be harder for individuals to acquire it,” he stated.
“[The government] now has to place this proper, by delivering on the guarantees that it is made to the sufferers.”
The Department of Health stated in a press release: “To assist docs prescribing these merchandise, we’ve got requested the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to develop extra medical tips and are working with Health Education England to supply extra coaching.
“The resolution to prescribe unlicensed cannabis-based merchandise for medicinal use is a medical resolution for specialist hospital docs, made with sufferers and their households, making an allowance for medical steering.”