“The only way to take the cannabis oil legally was to get a private neurologist. She writes the prescription because she knows it’s safe for Murray. He hasn’t had a seizure in two years and no side-effects.”
Since the legalisation of medical cannabis in November 2018, only three cannabis-based products have been licensed by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Epidyolex, a CBD-based medication which has been found to be useful in some forms of epilepsy, is the only medical cannabis that can currently be prescribed through the NHS in Scotland.
While Ms Gray says that Epidyolex was initially effective at reducing Murray’s seizures, it eventually stopped working. This is likely because the product does not contain THC, the most common cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant.
Despite hopes that Ms Sturgeon would help the family, and others like them, to access the medicine more easily, they were left disappointed with the contents of Ms Sturgeon’s response.
In her letter, Ms Sturgeon wrote:
“For doctors to make decisions about which medicines to prescribe for their patients, they need to know that the medicines they are prescribing are safe to use.
“In order to prescribe medicines like those Murray currently takes on the NHS in Scotland (which means they will be dispensed for free), we need stronger evidence on their safety and use than we currently have.
“Just now, specialist doctors in the NHS who treat children with epilepsy and similar medical conditions aren’t confident about prescribing cannabis oils, including Bedrolite, until there is better evidence available following a clinical trial.”