Questions about MS? Call us on 0808 800 8000
MS Society flag in front of Big Ben

MPs debate medicinal cannabis three years since legalisation

MPs have been debating the availability of cannabis-based medicinal products, three years since the rules changed to allow it to be prescribed for medicinal purposes.  

We spoke with MPs before about the need for a plan on medicinal cannabis that encourages further research into other forms of medicinal cannabis.

During the debate, Christine Jardine, Jeff Smith, Crispin Blunt and Ronnie Cowan all spoke about the potential benefit that people with MS could have from these treatments. They called on Government to do more to make cannabis-based medicines available to people with a range of conditions. 

A postcode lottery

In 2019 Sativex, a cannabis-based spray, was approved in England to treat moderate to severe spasms when other treatments haven’t worked. Yet many people with MS are still unable to access it.

Sativex is only funded in 49 out of 106 of England’s local health bodies. This means people with MS are facing an unacceptable postcode lottery. 

"The Government must step up"

Speaking in support of our campaign in September, Ronnie Cowan MP, who lead yesterday’s debate said:

“It’s misleading for the Government to highlight that cannabis-based products like Sativex are available ‘routinely’ on the NHS, when in actual fact under half of England’s health bodies are prescribing the treatment to people with MS, and so far none in Scotland. 

“Everyone with MS deserves access to effective treatments, so the Government must step up. This means doing whatever it can to urge NHS England to ensure that Sativex is made widely available across all CCGs, so that everyone with MS who needs it can access”. 

Campaigning for Sativex for MS

Those who can't get Sativex on prescription are being forced to pay up to £500 a month to access Sativex privately, or break the law to access cannabis. 

In August, we launched a campaign calling on health bodies to act to make Sativex available those people with MS who need it. 

Over 2000 people have already taken an action and written to their local health boards calling for Sativex to be made available. There's still time to join the campaign.

Take action on Sativex

Check if your local health board is prescribing Sativex and call for action

If you take or have taken action and had a reply from your local health board – let us know. Please send on responses to [email protected].

If you've had difficulty accessing Sativex and would like to share your story please also get in touch at [email protected]