Helping you understand what cannabis is and how it works

Cannabis has been used by humans as a medicine for thousands of years, but in the last few decades research has enabled a deeper understanding of its applications. As prohibitions have steadily fallen away in line with further exploration and the discovery of safe and effective treatment pathways, we’ve been able to establish the UK’s first online prescription management service.

Dispensary Green is open to medical cannabis patients with prescriptions written by their specialist doctor.

Is it legal in the UK?

United Kingdom law currently states that cannabis medicines can be prescribed for patients under the correct circumstances. This has been the case since November 2018, when publicity around the lack of access to effective cannabis medicines for epileptic children forced a change in policy.

GPs cannot currently simply prescribe for any patient, for any condition. Treatment with cannabis medicines must be initiated by a specialist consultant on the GMC registry and may be continued under shared care by a GP or non-medical prescriber. For children and young people under the care of pediatric services, the initiating prescriber should also be a tertiary pediatric specialist.

After the initial prescription, subsequent prescriptions of cannabis-based medicinal products may be issued by another prescriber as part of a shared care agreement under the direction of the initiating specialist prescriber, if:

  • The person’s clinical condition is stable
  • Shared care is appropriate and in the person’s best interest
  • The other prescriber is confident to make a fully informed prescribing decision about cannabis-based medicinal products.

GPs cannot currently simply prescribe for any patient, for any condition. Treatment with cannabis medicines must be initiated by a specialist consultant on the GMC registry and may be continued under shared care by a GP or non-medical prescriber. For children and young people under the care of pediatric services, the initiating prescriber should also be a tertiary pediatric specialist.

After the initial prescription, subsequent prescriptions of cannabis-based medicinal products may be issued by another prescriber as part of a shared care agreement under the direction of the initiating specialist prescriber, if:

  • The person’s clinical condition is stable
  • Shared care is appropriate and in the person’s best interest
  • The other prescriber is confident to make a fully informed prescribing decision about cannabis-based medicinal products.

GPs cannot currently simply prescribe for any patient, for any condition. Treatment with cannabis medicines must be initiated by a specialist consultant on the GMC registry and may be continued under shared care by a GP or non-medical prescriber. For children and young people under the care of pediatric services, the initiating prescriber should also be a tertiary pediatric specialist.

After the initial prescription, subsequent prescriptions of cannabis-based medicinal products may be issued by another prescriber as part of a shared care agreement under the direction of the initiating specialist prescriber, if:

  • The person’s clinical condition is stable
  • Shared care is appropriate and in the person’s best interest
  • The other prescriber is confident to make a fully informed prescribing decision about cannabis-based medicinal products.

The level of security on Dispensary Green’s platform fills me and my patients with reassurance.

Pain doctor, London, UK

The level of security on Dispensary Green’s platform fills me and my patients with reassurance.

Pain doctor, London, UK

Efficacy and safety

Efficacy and safety of cannabis-based medicinal products should be monitored and evaluated, and doses should be adjusted by the initiating specialist prescriber as part of the shared care agreement.

1 Shared care agreement

A shared care agreement for a person prescribed a cannabis-based medicinal product should include:

  • The responsibilities of all parties [the initiating specialist prescriber, the other prescriber(s), the patient, family and/or carers]
  • The nature and frequency of monitoring and how this will be recorded
  • When treatment might be stopped, for example, if it is not effective
  • How suspected or known adverse reactions will be managed
  • How communication will be managed between the initiating specialist prescriber, the other prescriber, the patient, family and/or carers
  • How the treatment will be funded
  • How care will be maintained when the patient, initiating specialist prescriber or other prescriber moves location (including transition to adult services)

2 NHS guidance

NHS guidance states that medical cannabis should only be prescribed when there is clear published evidence of its benefit and other treatment options have been exhausted. Current NICE guidance around the prescribing of medical cannabis, in theory, limits the prescribing of CMBPs to:

  • Intractable nausea and vomiting
  • Spasticity
  • Severe treatment-resistant epilepsy

3 NICE guidance

Doctors are entitled to make clinical decisions based on an unmet need across a spectrum of ailments, allowing for some prescriptions.

NICE guidance currently specifically does not recommend CBMPs for the treatment of chronic pain, and to date has not extended its review to conditions outside of this range.

CBD oils, unlike CBMPs, are currently not regulated in this manner and can be freely purchased and used on an individual basis.

We are regulated by GPHC

Superintendent

Christopher Ashton, GPhC Number 2058416

Eprescriptions Ltd t/a Dispensary Green, 28A Sherwood Street, Warsop, Nottinghamshire, NG20 0JW

To check a pharmacy or Pharmacist registration, click the following link for the GPhC website