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Clinicians interested in the evidence and suitability of cannabis, those already prescribing cannabis based medicinal products, those wishing to become prescribing doctors and those looking to increase their knowledge can struggle to find straightforward guidance and independent support. Guidance from regulators and the medical community has so far been contradictory.

The Society was established to support clinicians and provide the necessary support and guidance to allow doctors to become informed, confident prescribers.

As a member, you’ll be at the forefront of the conversation around the growing medical use of cannabis, with access to an unrivalled network of prescribers thorough our Peer Support Group, where members learn from each other and access online support 7 days a week.

Joining active prescribers working across mental health, chronic pain, gastroenterology, sports medicine and more, you will have access to experts in the sector and the opportunity to access foundational training and continuous professional development, allowing you to better support your patients.

MCCS members are regular contributors to the medical cannabis conversation, guidance and debate.

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Expert Leadership

The Society’s Expert Committee members are recognised as leading experts in their fields, dedicated to opening up access to medicinal cannabis for every patient in the UK and mentoring and supporting its members.

Information for Doctors on cannabis based medicines

Why should UK doctors become informed about medical cannabis?

Doctors in the UK should become more informed about medical cannabis because it can provide relief for a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain and epilepsy.

Legal on prescription since November 2018, medical cannabis is available to qualifying patients from an approved doctor in the UK, which makes it important for doctors to have current knowledge on its therapeutic properties so that they are able to make informed decisions when treating their patients. It is estimated that over 25,000 patients (December 2022) have a private prescription for a medical cannabis product.

A YouGov poll carried out in October 2022 found that approximately 1.8million people with diagnosed medical conditions are turning to illegally obtained cannabis to manage their illness – 400,000 more than a similar report carried out in 2019.

With any new treatment, it is crucial that clinicians and healthcare professionals are confident about dosing, interactions with other drugs, tolerability and prescribing information. When it comes to medical cannabis, it’s important that clinicians have a wider understanding of the endocannabinoid system too, and the cannabinoids THC and CBD and which has the most therapeutic effect for different conditions and symptoms.

It is important for doctors to stay up-to-date on the regulations regarding prescribing and dispensing of medical cannabis products. By becoming better educated about medical cannabis, doctors will be better equipped to offer potentially life-changing treatment options for their patients suffering from various debilitating conditions.

What conditions and symptoms can medical cannabis be prescribed for in the UK?

There are no barriers to medical cannabis treatment and any condition can be considered. In the UK, the vast majority of medical cannabis is prescribed to relieve pain and anxiety, however there are no restrictions on its use.

Medical cannabis has been used to effectively relieve the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions, including: chronic pain, cancer-related pain, multiple sclerosis (MS), HIV/AIDS, ADHD, inflammation, severe treatment resistant epilepsy, seizures, anxiety and depression. In some cases, it can be used to treat conditions like Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Medical cannabis has been used to treat intractable nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, as well as to increase appetite in people suffering from wasting syndromes or malnutrition related to HIV/AIDS.

There is growing evidence that medical cannabis can be beneficial for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some studies have suggested that medical cannabis can be used to help treat Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

It is important to note that individual responses to medical cannabis will vary greatly, depending on the underlying condition being treated as well as other factors such as body weight, age, and medical history.

Who can prescribe medical cannabis in the UK?

Prescribing cannabis-based products for medicinal use in the UK is restricted to doctors who are listed on the Specialist Register of the General Medical Council. These clinicians must adhere to GMC guidance and NHS Trust governing procedures when prescribing CBMPs as they are classed as unlicensed medicine. Specialist Doctors are permitted to prescribe only within their area of practice and with the support of a multidisciplinary team.

Doctors who can prescribe with direction under Shared Care arrangements are also permitted to prescribe medical cannabis, though at present these are rare.

According to the General Medical Council, doctors can prescribe if they satisfy the following requirements:

  • Doctors are aware of the misuse of drugs regulations
  • Doctors have a good awareness of the available guidelines
  • Doctors are aware of the evidence base for this treatment
  • Doctors are prescribing within their own area of expertise

In Canada, the US and Australia too, GPs can prescribe medical cannabis.

As a specialist doctor, how can I start prescribing medical cannabis in the UK?

The Society has developed a step by step guide to support doctors wishing to prescribe cannabis based medicines. From private clinics to independent practice, there are options for medical cannabis treatments and prescribing routes.

The information guides you through the requirements – from training, MDT support and governance to specials prescribing. A practical introduction, the guide will give you all the information you need to become a confident, compliant and well informed prescriber.

The first step to prescribing medical cannabis in the UK is to complete your training. You will need to gain a knowledge and understanding of endocannabinoid pharmacology, clinical evidence, dosing and patient management.

Read the guide in full.

What medical cannabis training is available to doctors in the UK?

Are you a healthcare professional looking to gain an expert-level understanding of medical cannabis usage?

Medical Cannabis Explained, our live course hosted by Professor Mike Barnes, is the perfect learning opportunity for members who want to become confident and competent prescribers of this effective therapy, or simply increase their understanding of the treatment.

The Society’s training provides healthcare professionals with an overview of cannabis based medicine, its historical use and applications, evidence for its use, indications, conditions and symptoms suitable for medical cannabis treatment, overviews of different products available in the UK including licensed producers, CBD/THC ratio dosages and much more – all centred around best practices for safe and responsible prescribing. It also offers insight into how these treatments may benefit patients seeking pain relief or treatment for mental health issues like anxiety or depression. The course also provides guidance on legal regulations surrounding medical cannabis so that practitioners can use their professional judgement to prescribing it responsibly and within the law.

medical cannabis training

Other training is provided by Sativa Learning which was developed in conjunction with the Society. Licensed producers of cannabis including Zerenia (Khiron) and Script Assist also provide some training.

NHS England has developed an educational package and accompanying e-learning course with Health Education England and the University of Birmingham to educate healthcare professionals on cannabis and cannabis-based products for medicinal use. This session covers all aspects of the pharmacology of cannabis, including its key components and their effects and an overview of relevant legislation governing medical use.

How can I access continuing education on medical cannabis?

Through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society and the expert leadership, peer support and education, Consultants and Doctors can ensure they are fully informed about this treatment.

The Society offers accredited continuing education sessions and resources, as well as webinars, national conferences and networking opportunities to help doctors stay up-to-date on the latest developments in medical cannabis.

What kind of risks are there when prescribing cannabis based medicinal products?

Through generally a low-risk treatment, as medical professionals, it is paramount that doctors remain informed of any potential risks and side effects their patients may experience when using cannabis-based therapies as well as the legal ramifications associated with prescribing or administering them.

Doctors should make sure they are up to date on all relevant laws and regulations surrounding the use of medical cannabis and recreational cannabis. It is also important to be aware that there are different forms of medicinal cannabis products available for prescribing or administering to patients. These include flower, oil, capsules, tinctures, topical creams and patches. Different delivery methods can offer a variety of benefits depending on the patient’s needs and preferences.

Resources for Specialist Consultants & Doctors

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News, case studies, clinician profiles and patient stories from the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society.

Patient stories

Patient stories

Hear from patients benefiting from medical cannabis treatments in the UK.

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Key reasons to join the MCCS, a supportive network of clinicians growing by the day. Exclusive prescribing information, product details and peer support.

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