Britain’s first medical cannabis clinic opened in Manchester this week, with improvement in legislation influencing the owners in the decision to back the venture.
The offerings at the clinic will include CBD-based treatments.
The opening follows the Home Office’s decision to reschedule medical cannabis in November 2018, and is the first of a planned network of specialist clinics being opened by European Cannabis Holdings (ECH) around the UK.
The clinic will provide treatments aimed at helping those suffering from chronic pain conditions as well as neurological conditions such as epilepsy as well as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The legalisation of prescription cannabis has given people with chronic illnesses hope; the next step is to ensure the availability of medical cannabis to offer those without other alternatives the treatment they need,” Hannah Simon from European Cannabis Holdings — the private investment group behind the new clinics — said in a statement.
Two other clinics are also expected to open in London and Birmingham later this spring.
The UK opted to legalise CBD oil for medical use last year after two mothers whose sons suffer from severe epilepsy requested it. They said it alleviates their boys’ seizures.
Specialist doctors are now able to prescribe cannabis-derived medicinal products if there is clear evidence of benefit or if clinical needs cannot be met by a licenced medicine and where established treatment options have been exhausted, according to guidelines published by the National Health Services.
Only four patients have successfully accessed medical cannabis treatment since the change in the law. European Cannabis Holdings say the low figure is due to the strict prescription guidelines which it described as “barriers of access.”
Professor Mike Barnes, Clinical Director of the Medical Cannabis Clinics, said, “these clinics represent a much-needed framework to enable access to treatments for a range of serious illness, and bring the UK in line with other countries when it comes to pain management.”
Patients at The Beeches, in Cheadle, will pay £200 for appointments with doctors and between £600 and £700 a month for a prescription.
Decisions to prescribe cannabis will be taken on a case-by-case basis, and will only be considered when staff are satisfied that licensed products cannot treat the condition.