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Stay informed, read our further guide to THC/CBD side-effects, driving and staying on the right side of the law.

Who is Eligible?

Medical Cannabis is Legal in the United Kingdom

Today, a wide range of conditions are treated in Britain with THC and CBD, two of the active ingredients in cannabis plant extracts. Often used in differing proportions, and typically either by vaping whole/ground dry bud, or consuming prepared oil concentrates. Legal cannabis medical usage, is here to stay in the UK. Currently prescribed solely through private clinics, medical cannabis advocates hope to see a wider level of access through public healthcare in the future.

Patients typically require a history of having tried two other medications to treat their condition before being considered for medical cannabis. However, this is down to the prescribing specialist and the discretion of professionals at individual clinics. Your clinic will request to access your NHS medical records/history in order to make an informed decisions on the viability of medical cannabis for the treatment of your condition (if you've moved from, or are treated abroad, you may have to make your own arrangements to provide documentation of your medical history.)

While we post a list of potential conditions, there is no exhaustive list of what cannabis products can be used to treat, and is ordinarily decided upon by individual clinics. From physical conditions like chronic pain or irritable bowel syndrome, to mental health issues such as PTSD, anxiety or depression - cannabis could potentially be the right treatment for you.

If you are currently an 'illicit' user of cannabis, but for the purpose of self-medication, it's worth considering approaching a clinic today to see if your usage could be legitimised. We have never heard of a clinic penalising a new patient for past usage unlawfully, and are ordinarily understanding and accommodating of patients whom have previously had no legal access.

There are no legal age limits set on the prescription of medical cannabis in the UK, for example, the need as a treatment for childhood epilepsy helped bring about the original law changes in 2018, which bought about the availability of medical cannabis to a wider range of patients as seen today. Generally speaking, clinics are far more reluctant to prescribe to those under age 25 - whereby to an assessing medical professional, you may need to justify a more extreme need to be considered. Cannabis can only be prescribed to those under the age of 18 by a paediatric specialist within their field.

Applying to a Clinic

Below you'll find a short guide to the process of applying for a medical cannabis prescription in the UK. Most clinics offer video consultations, which we'll cover below. You should be able to access a clinic wherever you are within the UK, with patients in the Scottish Highlands, or on the Channel Islands, being diagnosed and receiving prescriptions with minimal issue.

  1. Choose your clinic, full list with pricing here.
  2. Fill out their online registration form, including giving permission to obtain and access your medical records.

    You will be asked for both basic contact information, as well as for more detailed medical information.
  3. You'll hear back with a preliminary acceptance or rejection typically within a few days. This is simply an initial screening hurdle, you'll next need to book and pay for an appointment with a specialist. You'll typically be able to select a date/time from the clinic's online portal, some also allowing you to choose which specialist you want to see.
  4. Your doctor will hold a telemedicine call with you. You will be asked to confirm your identity, typically by showing passport or driving license, then numerous questions regarding your medical history; previous medications tried for your condition(s); your personal history (if any) with cannabis; and questions regarding your mental health.

    The appointment can last anything from 15 minutes up to the full hour. It is best to be completely honest and transparent with your doctor, you will not be penalised for previous illicit cannabis usage.
  5. During your appointment if your specialist feels you qualify without need for further review, you will likely be informed right away. You'll then be able to discuss available products deemed suitable, and be able to suggest your own for evaluation. You'll also discuss dosage and receiving your first prescription. This is the best point to discuss any pharmacy preferences (where your prescription will be sent). Bare in mind, each future prescription change is likely to cost another appointment.
  6. If you are not immediately accepted the clinic will contact you, typically within a week of your appointment.

Remember to check your email spam folder for any expected clinic/pharmacy replies.

Receiving Your First Prescription

  1. You may receive a sign-up email for your chosen pharmacy/dispensary, this typically requires another identification check where you'll need to upload a documentation photo/scan. This can add an extra day or two delay for approval in some cases. You will then be sent an itemised online invoice for your prescription, and be prompted to pay online. (or)

    You may receive a registration call from your pharmacy, whereby you will be informed of the cost of your prescription, be asked to pay - and can further query delivery times (clinic dependent.)
  2. Your pharmacy legally must wait for a paper copy of your prescription before dispensing your medication, and this can add a couple of days additional delay. If your product is immediately available from pharmacy stocks, it will often be sent out on a next-day delivery service, or if not in-stock you may need to wait an additional 3-4 working days for your medication to arrive there. Your legal prescription cannabis will be delivered to you by standard courier services, and may require a signature for delivery.
  3. You're now a legal cannabis patient, with a monthly prescription. To avoid gaps in your prescription, we would strongly recommend booking your follow-up appointment or requesting a repeat prescription from your clinic 3 weeks after receiving your first delivery - to allow just over a week for the dispensary to receive/dispatch your next prescription.
  4. You will need to book quarterly appointments with your clinic for mandatory health check-ups.

More information on identifying yourself to the police, dealing with employers, odour and more here.

^This needs to be more visual and less wordy.
Rewritten from original application guide by u/dogfan265.

NHS LogoNational Health-Service FAQ on Cannabis-Based Products for Medicinal Use (CBPM)