Due to the ongoing pandemic, patients suffering from chronic pain have been left in an incredibly vulnerable state. Without any way to access their medical cannabis supplies, it’s been a concern of many what will be done next.
Recently, the government recently published emergency legislation allowing patients access to controlled substances from local pharmacies without a prescription. It is their hope that measures such as these will take some of the enormous pressure off of the healthcare service.
However, some pharmacists and other healthcare professionals feel it may not be enough for patients requiring medicinal cannabis.
Andy Yates, a pharmacist for the Centre for Medical Cannabis, pointed out that the new legislation applied to “ongoing” NHS treatment only, this “oversight” could lead to medical cannabis users being likely excluded.
Lara Smith who suffered a damaged spinal cord in 2014 had been medicating her pain with dronabinol, which was available as an unlicensed medicine before medical cannabis, in general, was legalised, in November 2018.
Up until the travel restrictions were put in place, she was travelling to the Netherlands three times a month in order to have her prescription filled.
Now with the lockdown in place, Lara has been relying on a private clinic, which held a consultation over the phone, and sends her medical cannabis through a courier.
Relaxing restrictions to avoid violence
If patients can’t access their medicine legally it often becomes the case that they must buy from the black market. However, this comes with its own set of problems, including the exposure of vulnerable people to violence.
Cannabis Access Clinics, who work with the country’s biggest suppliers, Grow Pharma, have relaxed their rules because of COVID-19. Patients can now join online consultations, whereas prior to lockdown, patients would be required to meet specialists every 28 days.
These changes are a welcome relief to thousands of people across the UK in a time of great uncertainty.