UK Scheduling Of Medical Cannabis “Absurd”

British Medical Journal - Medicinal Marijuana
Cannabis Image: BigStock

UK parliamentarians Molly Meacher and Nick Clegg have gone into bat for medicinal cannabis in a highly respected medical journal.

In an essay published in the British Medical Journal, the two have defended cannabis for use in medical applications.

In the UK, cannabis was classified as a Schedule 1 drug in 1954. The classification is for drugs that have no medicinal value and cannot be prescribed or possessed.

” The classification is irrational: firstly, cannabis has low toxicity and is much safer than many established medicines, not to mention two legal recreational drugs, alcohol and tobacco,” state the pair.

” Secondly, people have used the cannabis plant for its medicinal properties for centuries, if not millenniums. Recent years have seen the discovery of the human endocannabinoid system and a growing literature on the medicinal value of cannabis for specific conditions.”

In light of the recent findings of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform which indicated “good” evidence supports medicinal use of cannabis for chronic pain, seizures, nausea and anxiety; Mr. Clegg and Ms. Meach says the UK’s scheduling ” looks ever more absurd.”

Their argument is furthered by the recent declaration by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) that cannabidiol is a medicine. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many cannabinoids found in the marijuana and industrial hemp plants.

“The radical shift in UN opinion in April this year, and its call for evidence based policy, make this the right time for the UK government to reschedule medical cannabis without delay and to establish a review of drug policy more widely,” state Clegg and Meacher.

Nick Clegg is a British Liberal Democrat who was the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2015 in the Cameron coalition ministry.

Molly Meacher (Baroness Meacher) is a British life peer and former social worker.

The essay being published in the British Medical Journal is a big deal. It is a peer reviewed publication and one of the world’s oldest medical journals; first published in 1840 as the Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal. The journal has an impact factor of 19.967 (June 2016) and is ranked fourth among general medical journals globally.