Select Committee on Science and Technology Second Report

Summary of Conclusions

1.We are concerned at the slow progress made by the two MRC-funded trials. We consider that the current requirement to obtain Home Office licences, and the stigma attached to cannabis, is effectively inhibiting research in this area.
2.We are pleased that the Home Office is showing the first signs of adopting a genuinely pragmatic and expeditious approach to the issue of cannabis-based medicines.
3.The Minister considered that the attitude of the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the courts, reflects "an understanding that where cannabis is used for medicinal purposes, that is to be considered in a somewhat different light to purely recreational use" (Q. 49). Noting the inconsistency with which the law is presently applied across the United Kingdom, we endorse this view, and further consider it undesirable to prosecute genuine therapeutic users of cannabis who possess or grow cannabis for their own use.
4.We consider that the Medicines Control Agency are not approaching the question of licensing cannabis-based medicines in a properly balanced way, especially given the long-established history of cannabis use, and the needs of patients for whom there is no medicinal alternative. To end the delay in the development of an effective cannabis-based medicine, we recommend that the MCA should reconsider their position on the licensing of medicines containing cannabidiol.

  Since the MCA gave oral evidence to our inquiry, we understand that they have conducted a review of their decisions regarding cannabis and cannabidiol, and that they are considering modifications to their position set out in this report.

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