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UK- BMJ : Medical cannabis: Allow GPs to prescribe as part of national trial, review urges

GPs should be allowed to prescribe medical cannabis as part of a national trial, recommends a review of policy in the legal cannabinoid sector.1

The review by Christopher Hodges, emeritus professor of justice systems at the Centre for Socio-legal Studies at the University of Oxford, calls for a new regulatory framework for the sector to “turbocharge UK cannabinoid innovation.”

He said, “It is no longer wise or sustainable for the government to continue to take a distanced, disinterested, or laissez faire attitude to the sector as a whole, as it has done since the cannabis sector’s inception.”

The report, commissioned by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis and the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry, says that in the area of consumer cannabinoids and CBD there has been too little regulation and that tighter rules are needed to safeguard the consumer and build up public trust. But in the area of medical cannabis it argues that regulations are too onerous and restrictive in some areas and too lax or entirely absent in others.

The review makes 20 recommendations, including calling on the government to set up a single steward authority to govern and guide the entire sector, at arm’s length from ministers.

It also calls for the creation of a national patient registry for all cannabis based medicines prescribed in the UK so that real world evidence can be built up. It also calls for a single formulary to provide doctors with an up-to-date list of cannabis based medicines.

A survey of 1500 people given in the report found that two thirds believe GPs should be allowed to prescribe medical cannabis. And 63% of respondents would be supportive if a family member was taking medicinal cannabis to dealt with a health condition, with only 8% saying they would be somewhat or very opposed to it.


  1. From containment to nurturing: how the UK can become a world leader in cannabinoid innovation. Jun 2022. https://hodgesreview.com.

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