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Beggs welcomes amendment to Misuse of Drugs Act enabling clinicians to prescribe medicinal cannabis

Roy Beggs MLA, who was part of the cross party group of MLAs who had recognised the potential benefits of the medicinal use of cannabis products, has welcomed the amendment to the 2001 Misuse of Drugs Act and the changes indicated by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland that are to enable clinicians to prescribe the medicinal use of cannabis.

Roy Beggs MLA said:

“I am pleased that Northern Ireland clinicians will, from the 1st of November, be able to consider prescribing medicinal cannabis.  We must however recognise that as there is limited experience in this area that clinicians must be cautious in prescribing its use.  Like any drug, there are side effects and clinicians will want to minimise the risk of harm to patients.

“The Home Office, by amending the 2001 Misuse of Drugs Legislation, has enabled some cannabis based products to be considered for use in the NHS.  Some medicinal cannabis products have proven to be effective in controlling some patients’ epileptic seizures. Indeed, in the case of Billy Caldwell, the re-introduction of his medications, which had been originally prescribed in Canada, could be said to have been life-saving. I am pleased that the NI Department of Health has indicated that they will mirror the changes that are to occur in England, Scotland and Wales.

“I would like to thank Charlotte Caldwell for showing to us all the benefits of this medication to her son Billy, and for co-ordinating the cross party group of local politicians who lobbied the Department of Health and the Trusts, supporting the use of medicinal cannabis in NI.  As a result other patients may be able to benefit from the 1st of November.”

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