New guidelines on the use of medicinal cannabis have been described as an ‘important first step’, by a leading charity.
The MS Society, has called for more to be done to ensure medicinal cannabis is available to everyone with multiple sclerosis (MS) who could benefit from it.
The calls come after it was announced that cannabis-based medicine would become available on the NHS, to help treat severe forms of childhood epilepsy and complications from multiple sclerosis.
The National Institute of Health and Social Care (NICE) published its final guidelines on cannabis-based medicinal products yesterday (11 November).
The guidelines approve Sativex, a spray licensed to treat muscle spasms in MS. But NICE has not recommended cannabis-based treatment for chronic pain – a common symptom of MS.
The announcement also doesn’t come with any funding, meaning access will depend on decisions made by local NHS bodies. This decision doesn’t apply to Scotland or Northern Ireland.
MS is a condition that affects around 100,000 people living in the UK. It damages the nerves in the body, making it harder to do everyday things, such as walk, talk, eat and think.
The MS Society works tirelessly to help those living with the condition, through research, campaigning and offering support services.
Though the new guidelines are undoubtedly a step in the right direction, more must be done to ensure easier access to cannabis-based medicines, for those who need and would benefit from it, to alleviate pain and symptoms.