Tory wants cannabis legalised ‘for medicinal purposes’

A Conservative MP is calling on the government to do more to make cannabis available for those suffering intense pain.

Oliver Colvile has written to health secretary Jeremy Hunt asking whether the government's ban on cannabis – which is classified as a class B drug – can be relaxed when it is used for medical reasons.

"I think we need to have a much better understanding as to what cannabis can do," he saiad.

"What I am not talking about is legalising cannabis, because I don't think that would be very clever. I'm told that if you are 16 or so, and you take cannabis, you can do an enormous amount of mental health problems to you.

"I am seeking to find out what the government's position is in relation to people who suffer from neurological conditions, as to whether they can use cannabis in order to stop their pain."

Colvile raised the case after one of his constituents, an MS-sufferer called Stuart Wyatt, said he would like to use cannabis to help with pain relief.

Cannabis is currently available in pill form, deputy leader of the Commons told Colvile in the Commons last month.

Sativex, a cannabis-derived mouth spray, was licensed in the UK in 2010 as an additional treatment for moderate to severe spasticity in multiple sclerosis.

"The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) is updating its clinical guideline on the management of MS in primary and secondary care," Brake told Colvile.

"Sativex is one of the new interventions that Nice has identified for inclusion in its updated guidelines, which it expects to publish in October 2014."

The concern now is that while GPs can prescribe the pill's use, commissioning boards up and down the country could take different views on whether or not to authorise it.

Hunt could be asked to explore issuing government guidance clarifying the issue.

"If people have got these conditions, we should be looking for every way possible to try and reduce the pain," Colvile added.