Medicinal cannabis products must be prescribed by a doctor to treat the symptoms of a medical condition or, the side effects of a medical treatment (e.g. chronic pain, chemotherapy). Medicinal cannabis preparations include flower, tablets, oils, tinctures and other extracts.
Absolutely. Medical cannabis has been a legal prescription medication since 2018. We are one of the leading specialist clinics helping to improve access and prescribe this much needed medication.
You can complete our assisted referral form – available here.
To help our specialists make a full assessment about your condition, we require information from your GP and/or specialists you may have seen already. If you’re joining us from another medical cannabis clinic, we ask you to provide us with the clinic letters they have given you.
There is some administrative check we require, such as photographic ID (e.g. driver’s license or passport) and signed treatment agreements which can all be done electronically.
In the UK, all medical cannabis is unlicensed – but don’t worry – although unlicensed, medical cannabis obtained via prescription from Medicann is 100% legal in the UK. This term is used to describe medicines which are used outside the terms of their agreed UK licence. So, put simply an unlicensed medicine is one that is prescribed for conditions other than those it was originally licensed to treat. Unlicensed medical products can only be supplied to meet the special needs of an individual patient and is a rather common occurence in healthcare.
Unlicensed medicines are used commonly in areas such as in paediatrics, psychiatry and palliative care.
We treat conditions where there is clinical evidence to support the use of medical cannabis once a patient has exhausted all conventional therapy.
No. Medicinal cannabis can only be legally accessed through your doctor. Growing your own cannabis, or smoking illicit cannabis for medicinal purposes remains illegal.
Cannabis that is not prescribed by a doctor is less reliable than a medicinal product, as it has not undergone safety and quality testing and the active ingredients contained within it (cannabinoids such as THC) are inconsistent.
Using cannabis that has not been prescribed by a doctor – in any form – remains illegal.
Medicinal cannabis is a relatively new treatment and some health professionals may not yet feel sufficiently informed to prescribe it.
Seeking a second opinion for important healthcare decisions from another healthcare professional can give you reassurance about a decision or give you the opportunity to opt for a different choice about a diagnosis or treatment.
This is the body’s own “cannabis” system. We all have cannabinoid nerve receptors in our brain and elsewhere in the body. We produce chemicals, called endocannabinoids, which lock on to those receptors and perform vital functions. This system is responsible for such things as pain control, mood control, anti-inflammation response, control of bodily movement, epilepsy, etc. The plant cannabinoids, called phytocannbinoids, help that system by also locking on to those receptors. This is why cannabis has so many potential uses.
Both THC and CBD have medical properties. THC is the cannabinoid that is the major part of recreational cannabis and in high doses can cause impairment. In lower doses it is a muscle relaxant, can help with sleep and many different causes of pain. It can also help with nausea and other chemotherapy related side effects. CBD does not cause impairment. CBD is often used in anxiety, epilepsy and pain management also. There is much overlap between the two when controlling symptoms. When you are assessed by a doctor they will determine the combination that is most likely to help your symptoms. Most doctors start with a higher CBD product with small amounts of THC and increase the dose slowly, but it will depend on your previous exposure to cannabis and your symptoms. If prescribed carefully, the side effects one commonly recognised with recreational cannabis and unopposed THC use are usually very minimal and well tolerated.
Medical cannabis not only contains cannabinoids, but also other chemicals called terpenes (which give smell) and flavonoids (which give colour). There are over 130 cannabinoids, in addition to CBD and THC, as well as over 100 terpenes and flavonoids. It is thought that the full plant with all those components in various proportions give a better medical effect than the individual parts. That is the entourage effect and explains why the full plant prescriptions may be better than the over-the-counter hemp CBD products.
Generally, recreational cannabis is high in THC and low in CBD – opposite to most of the initial medical cannabis prescriptions. Also, recreational cannabis comes with no guarantees of safety and quality and may well be contaminated with other chemicals like heavy metals and pesticides. Usually, you will not know what’s in recreational cannabis and one batch is likely to be different from the next.
The cannabis plant contains 147 cannabinoids and over 100 terpenes and flavonoids, as well other plant chemicals such as chlorophyll and waxes. These are not “contaminants” but an integral part of the plant and many of these components have medicinal value. As an example, there are at least nine cannabinoids and terpenes that are known to have anti-convulsant properties. The basis of the double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is to compare a single compound, usually pharmaceutical, product with a placebo. Occasionally, a multi-compound medicine can undergo such studies, such as Sativex which is a combination of THC and CBD. However, it is not possible to conduct such studies for full-spectrum cannabis because of the complexity of the medicine and of course the difficulty of an adequate placebo. Comparison of isolate cannabinoids is possible (such as the Epidyolex studies, as Epidyolex is “nearly” an isolate (it contains a small amount of THC)).
Medical cannabis uses extracts of the cannabis plant in the treatment of diseases and their symptoms. Cannabinoids are the extracted compounds from the cannabis plant.
There are more than 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants. Two of the better-known cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have been found in clinical trials to alleviate a variety of symptoms.
They do this by activating receptor sites in the body’s endocannabinoid system, bolstering the body’s natural ability to fight pain, regulate mood and fight inflammation, among other benefits.
If your employer tests employees for drugs like THC then it is possible that you will be positive for a THC test on a prescribed or recreational product. You can test positive even if you are not impaired as THC is detected for some days after you have taken it.
It is best to tell your employer that you are on medicinal cannabis and talk to them about the situation. Your doctor may also be able to help and explain matters.
Some professions will not allow any detectable THC even if you are not impaired – such as pilots, railway signaller etc.
CBD is not intoxicating and should not cause problems on testing but be aware that some CBD prescriptions and over-the-counter CBD can have a little THC which, whilst being a very low and non-intoxicating dose, can cause positive urine or saliva or hair test results.
Be honest and discuss with your employer and if need be, get support from your doctor or Union.
No one should drive whilst impaired. THC can cause impairment for driving whilst the intoxicating effect is still present, so avoid driving (or other hazards such as operating machinery) whilst “under the influence”. There is a legal limit for THC (2 micrograms per litre). There are problems with this measure as THC can be detected in the blood for days after the acute effect has worn off (depends on dose and other factors). This is because THC is stored in fat cells and will come out of those cells over several days after the dose. So, it is possible to be over the legal limit even though you have no “intoxicating” effects left. It’s a good idea to carry a copy of your prescription at all times.
CBD does not impair driving.
It depends where you are going. Always check the legal situation in the country you are visiting. Some countries allow medicinal cannabis and some even recreational cannabis. Some allow CBD but others do not. Check initially on Wikipedia for “legality of cannabis” but always check with the embassy of the country. Also be aware if you are transferring flights in another country. Some countries do not allow cannabis in any form even if just in transit through the airport. Dubai, for example, is one such common transit hub.
Please contact your local clinic for a travel letter.