Cannabis-based Sativex (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol) has been approved for use in Scotland, following a decision by the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) on Monday.

The cannabis-based spray is approved for use to treat adults with moderate to severe spasticity due to MS, where other treatments haven’t worked.

This decision brings Scotland in line with the rest of the UK, where Sativex was already approved for use.

Morna Simpkins, Scotland director of the MS Society, said: ‘We welcome the SMC’s decision. Sativex has been proven to relieve muscle spasms and their associated pain, leading to improved mobility, better sleep patterns and a better quality of life for the person living with MS and their partner, family and loved ones.

‘We’ll continue to work with the SMC, NHS Scotland, individual health boards and neurologists to make sure Sativex quickly becomes available to everyone throughout Scotland whose life could be significantly improved by taking it.’

Sativex was approved for use in England in 2019, but the MS Society described access at the time as a ‘postcode lottery’, although the situation has since improved.

In 2019, Sativex was only funded in 49 out of 106 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), with discrepancy about whether continuing doses could be prescribed by an MS specialist or a GP.

In response, the MS Society launched its ‘Approved but Denied’ campaign and briefed 345 MPs about the issue.

By June 2022, the number of CCGs who state they routinely fund Sativex had increased by 45%. A full list can be found on the MS Society website, according to the MS Society.

The campaign also called upon Sativex manufacturer, GW Pharmaceuticals, to apply to the SMC for the approval of the medicine on the NHS in Scotland. In a statement on its website, the MS Society said that it was ‘pleased the manufacturer listened to us and members of our community.’

However, the MS Society said that ‘there’s still more to do’ and it is planning the next stage of the campaign. ‘We want Sativex to be available to everyone who's eligible,’ it said in a statement on its website.

Bijuve, a combined oral capsule containing 1mg estradiol and 100mg progesterone, was also approved by the SMC on Monday. It is the first combined body identical oral treatment approved for use in the UK.

Other medicines recently approved by the SMC include apalutamide, which is used to treat prostate cancer, and imlifidase, which can help highly sensitised people awaiting kidney transplants.