Children and Adults with severe epilepsy will be able to access a cannabis-based medicine on the NHS from early next year.
NHS England says doctors to prescribe Epidyolex from 6 January.
Clinical trials have shown the oral solution, which contains cannabidiol (CBD), could reduce the number of seizures by up to 40% in some children.
The medicine will be used to treat two rare, but severe, forms of childhood epilepsy – Lennox Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome – which can cause multiple seizures a day.
Epilepsy Action’s chief executive Philip Lee welcomed the announcement, saying it “brings much-needed hope and could be life-changing for some” but added that Epidyolex was not “a silver bullet” and there was more work to be done to “collect robust high-quality evidence of the effectiveness of other cannabis-based medicines”.
The law was changed in November 2018 so that specialist doctors could write a prescription for medical cannabis with the CBD and THC, even though they are unlicensed.
Decisions on drug availability are devolved around the UK.
It is estimated there are 3,000 people with Dravet and 5,000 with Lennox Gastaut syndrome in England.
NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said that thousands of people would now have access to the treatment “which has the potential to make a real difference”.
Medical cannabis campaigner Peter Carroll said it was “too little, too late” as he urged action towards making medicinal cannabis with CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) available for families in need.
THC is the psycho-active component of cannabis.
MMRC is committed to help people looking for medical cannabis prescriptions to find the specialist doctors who are willing to prescribe medical cannabis.
For more information why not register on the Medical Marijuana Resource Centre contact form on this link here.