One year ago today, the UK Government changed the law to make cannabis for medicinal use legal under prescription. This decision raised the hopes of many people with MS, including thousands of you who took our campaign action.
Not enough has changed
One year on, we're incredibly frustrated that not nearly enough has changed. People with MS still find it extremely difficult to access cannabis-based medicine on the NHS. As a result, many people feel forced to use illegal forms of cannabis to help with painful symptoms. Others struggle to pay thousands of pounds a month for a private prescription.
It’s wrong that thousands of people with MS are faced with this agonising choice.
How we’re speaking up on cannabis for MS
In the last few months, we’ve spoken to hundreds of people with MS about cannabis. And we’ve called on the UK Government to make sure people with MS across the UK can get access to the treatments they need.
We shared the experiences of people with MS with NICE, who are developing guidelines on medicinal cannabis for health professionals. We hope they put people with MS first when they publish the guidelines in the next few weeks.
We've also raised this issue regularly with our supporters in Parliament. Today dozens of MPs have written directly to the Prime Minister, urging him to remove barriers to prescribing medicinal cannabis on the NHS.
The Government needs to take action
Our Director of External Affairs, Genevieve Edwards, said: “MS is relentless, painful and exhausting and evidence shows cannabis can help. But so far the change in law has been a failure for people with MS. An entire year after it became legal for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis, we still don’t know of a single person with MS who has benefited.
“Instead, thousands have been left struggling without any way to manage their pain and muscle spasms."
Some are being forced to spend their disability benefits to fund private prescriptions, or even resorting to buying cannabis on the black market.
"Until the government takes concrete action to improve access to medicinal cannabis, this law change will have led to nothing but an empty promise.”
Join our campaign
Since we launched our campaign on medicinal cannabis in July 2017, we’ve achieved a huge amount together. But until people with MS are able to access the treatments they need on the NHS, we’ll continue to campaign to make it a reality.
We know we're strongest when we speak up together.