The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called on the Government to reclassify cannabis for medicinal use.

In a written statement, the RPS recommended that the Government ‘move cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulation 2001.

The RPS’s call comes after the Home Office announced on Tuesday (19 June) that it will launch a review looking at the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Currently, cannabis oil, as well as cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabinol (CBN) and CBN derivatives, is listed as class B/Schedule 1 controlled drugs and is not recognised for medicinal and therapeutic uses in the country.


Emerging evidence


The RPS said: ‘There is emerging evidence that cannabis may be of benefit to patients suffering a number of serious conditions, and many countries have changed legislation to facilitate research.

‘Currently, the UK retains close controls over research into the effects of cannabis. This is increasingly out of step with the approach adopted by several other countries.’

Research by the American National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine scientific non-profit institutions showed that short-term therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids in adults with multiple sclerosis-related spasms reduce pain symptoms.

The study also revealed that the drug can treat chronic pain in adults and that certain cannabinoids prevent and treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy treatment.


Potential benefits


According to the RPS, reclassifying cannabis as a schedule 2 drug could:

- Facilitate novel research into potential therapeutic uses of cannabis-based treatments to proceed in the UK

- Give the UK pharmaceutical industry the ability to develop novel cannabis-based treatments for patients

- Enable clinicians to treat patients with cannabis-based medicines when appropriate