To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the availability of sativex through the NHS with the classification of cannabis as a Schedule One substance.
9 December 2014
Cannabis is a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and is listed in Schedule 1 under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. Cannabis in its raw form is not authorised as a medicinal product in the United Kingdom and no assessment has been made by the Government of its potential medicinal benefits.
Sativex is the first cannabis-based medicine (oral spray) to be recognised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to have medicinal properties and is placed in Part I of Schedule 4 to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001. This distinguishes it from cannabis in its raw form which continues to remain a Class B and Schedule 1 controlled drug under UK legislation. A person can lawfully possess Sativex under a prescription issued by a qualified healthcare professional.
However, Sativex remains a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 Act and Class B drug offences, including unlawful possession, supply, possession with intent to supply etc, continue to apply to Sativex.