§ Mr. Steinberg
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) in what form cannabis is made available on prescription;
(2) what guidelines are available to general practitioners and consultants on the medicinal application of cannabis and as to how patients may obtain it;
(3) in what circumstances cannabis may be prescribed to patients.
§ Mr. Bowis
The availability of cannabis is covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 which is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Under section 7 of that Act it is unlawful for a medical practitioner to prescribe it to a patient. There are no guidelines for general practitioners or consultants on its application. If it were shown that there were indications for the use of cannabis in specific medical conditions, we would look at it carefully and would not rule it out as a prescribed drug. The supporting data would need to be presented to the Medicines Control Agency for assessment with a view to licensing the preparation. A drug called Nabilone, which contains the main active ingredient of cannabis, is already licensed in the United Kingdom for the treatment of nausea in patients with cancer. A doctor may prescribe Nabilone for other conditions on his own responsibility.