Regulators in Scotland have approved the country’s first medical cannabis clinic, which is set to start offering virtual appointments. The Stirling-based Sapphire Medical Clinic will provide safe access to medical cannabis patients in Scotland, following Healthcare Improvement Scotland’sScotland’s authorization (HIS).
Medical cannabis is legal in the UK
The UK legalized medical cannabis in November 2018, a step that allowed doctors to prescribe the drug in certain situations. The clinic was initially supposed to open in Aberdeen but will now operate from its central belt premises. According to the Scottish government, specialist clinicians decided to prescribe the drug.
The government added that it did not influence prescriptions, and face-to-face consultations will follow when Covid restrictions permit. Through its spokesperson, the government said:
“The decision on whether to prescribe medicine and which one, for a patient, is entirely one for the clinician in charge of a patient’s care to make, having taken into account the patient’s clinical condition and the safety of him. This is regardless of whether it is an NHS clinician or a clinician working in a private clinic.”
Medical cannabis is available in the form of oils, capsules, whole cannabis flowers, or a single compound that experts can isolate and extract. The principal beneficiaries of cannabis-based therapies include multiple sclerosis patients and children who have severe epilepsy.
Speaking about the development, Sapphire Medical’s managing director, Dr. Mikael Sodergren, said:
“We are delighted to be the first clinic to be registered with HIS, which is a statement to the robust clinical governance framework we have established in evaluating patients for treatment with medical cannabis. By capturing clinical outcomes through the UK Medical Cannabis Registry we will significantly contribute to the evidence base and ultimately allow more patients to benefit from medical cannabis as a treatment option.”
Patients have welcomed the move to have the clinic in Scotland, saying, “it will make it easier for desperate parents to gain access to this wonderful medicine.” For some of those patients, ”medical cannabis is a lifeline.”