By Jo Martin Moss
Let me get this straight … and this is really going to confuse many tabloid readers, the Government confirms that Sativex (which is made from whole cannabis) has medicinal benefits and has issued a Scheduling notice for Sativex, which acknowledges that there is a recognised medicinal or legitimate use”
… yet the following still applies.
- Herbal Cannabis remains – Class B, Schedule 1
- Sativex (a concentrated oil suspended in alcohol) is scheduled- Class B, Schedule 2
How on earth can the government differentiate/ discriminate between the two, when fundamentally they are one and the same thing? If anything Sativex is alleged to produce more negative side effects than well produced herbal cannabis. There is something decidedly strange going on here, don´t you agree?
The following excerpts from “Scheduling of the cannabis-based medicine ‘Sativex’ ” explain the scheduling of Sativex.
Organisation: Home Office Published:27 March 2013
Implementation Date 10th April 2013
“Sativex” is the first cannabis-based medicine (oral spray) recognised in the UK to have medicinal properties. The production of the cannabis used in the manufacture of “Sativex” is carried out under a Home Office licence for ‘research or other special purpose’.
“Pending marketing authorisation, in 2006 the Home Office issued a licence to enable doctors, at their own risk to privately prescribe, pharmacists to possess and dispense, and named patients who have been prescribed “Sativex” to possess the drug under a clinical trial (clinical trials have ended). The Medicines Healthcare Regulatory products Agency (MHRA) issued a marketing authorisation (MA) for “Sativex”, specifically as add-on treatment for symptom improvement in patients with spasticity due to multiple sclerosis in June 2010. Doctors can also prescribe “Sativex” for other indications outside of the marketing authorisation at their own risk.
´´The Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (Amendment No. 2) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2013 amends the Misuse of Drugs (Designation) Order 2001 (the 2001 Order) by placing “Sativex”, as defined, under Part 2 of the Schedule to the 2001 Order with the effect that “Sativex” is now excepted from section 7(4) of the 1971 Act, essentially because “Sativex” has a recognised medicinal or legitimate use”
“S.I. 2013/625 excepts “Sativex”, as defined, from the definition of cannabis in Schedule 1 to the 2001 Regulations and places “Sativex” in Part I of Schedule 4 to the 2001 Regulations. The effect is that “Sativex”, as defined, is distinguished from cannabis in its raw form which continues to remain a Class B and Schedule 1 controlled drug under UK legislation.”“
Sativex” is placed in Part 2 of the Schedule to the 2001 Order
“S.I. 2013/624 places “Sativex”, as defined, in Part 2 of the Schedule to the 2001 Order with the effect that the designation provisions under Section 7(4) of the 1971 Act no longer applies. This has the result that a Home Office licence “for research or other special purpose” is no longer required for the possession, supply etc of “Sativex”. A Home Office licence “for research or other special purpose” is still required for cannabis in its raw form. “
So, in a nutshell, when Cannabis is grown (still schedule 1) and produced by a large pharmaceutical organisation, under license, and a product, Sativex, is created from the herbal cannabis, and sold at great expense, it then has medical benefits and the product is scheduled as schedule 2. Yet when it is grown for consumption by an individual for the same medical benefits, it ceases to have medical benefits and stays a schedule 1 substance all the way.
This has me scratching my head, although for a while I had been wondering how they would deal with the issue of scheduling/classifying Sativex. I believe this opens a door for pressure and leverage, arguing that herbal cannabis should be privy to the same scheduling as Sativex, as they cannot logically defend such a ludicrous assertion that there is such a significant difference between both substances, that requires them to be scheduled differently.
Does this also open the floodgates now for other cannabis preparations made by the large pharmaceutical companies, to be licensed and available on prescription by postcode lottery?
So many campaigners believe cannabis possession or supply of cannabis is illegal, because our governments believe their own propaganda that cannabis is harmful, when the exact opposite is probably closer to the truth. They already know that cannabis has many medical benefits, but if everyone grew their own and helped themselves and their friends, the need for pharmaceutical products would diminish swiftly, as would the opportunity for Big Pharma to profit.
It is entirely possible to make your own product similar to Sativex, but based on a cannabinoid content profile to suit the patients individual medical needs, at a fraction of the cost. There will be further details on this shortly.