Five years after the United Kingdom’s Home Office legalized medical cannabis products for use on the National Health Service (NHS), the government still hasn’t funded clinical trials that would allow physicians to prescribe cannabis, Sky News reports. Patients with private insurance can access medical cannabis products, but those who rely on NHS cannot.
Dr. Alan Fayaz, an NHS consultant and a spokesperson for the British Pain Society, told Sky News that the 2018 decision by the Home Office to legalize medical cannabis before clinical trials has created “this bizarre two-tiered system which actually doesn’t advantage the patients on the NHS” and “doesn’t really advantage the patients in the private sector either.”
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the NHS Research Ethics Committee have approved a trial by Celadon Pharmaceuticals that uses a metered dose inhaler to dispense THC in low doses. That trial includes 5,000 patients with chronic pain but it’s unclear whether even a successful trial would be enough to convince the nation’s medical authorities.