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Multiple Sclerosis: Drugs

Question for Department of Health

UIN 217173, tabled on 4 December 2014

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.

Answered on

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.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care
Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.