Cannabis is widely used across the UK, in the treatment of illnesses and simply for recreational use. It remains an illegal drug, but an influential group of MPs want it to be made legal for medical use.
Cannabis is already used as a medicine in Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Israel, and over 20 states in the US. Germany and Switzerland import the drug from Holland for medicinal purposes. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform wants similar laws introduced in the UK.
They believe there is enough hard evidence that the drug can help relieve symptoms from a number of illnesses.
Thousands of people use the drug to help with their ailments and are classed as criminals, and this group of MPs does not believe these people should be classed as illicit drug abusers.
However, the Home Office, has stated again that they have no plans to legalise cannabis which they see as a harmful drug. There have been studies that link the drug use to mental illness, including schizophrenia.
The pro-cannabis MPs want the drug to be classed in the same way as steroids and sedatives, allowing medical staff to prescribe it, if they think it will have a beneficial effect on the patient.
MS suffers can already access a drug that is made with chemicals compounds found in cannabis. They use an oral spray, Sativex, and the active ingredients are THC and CBD, found in cannabis.
There are concerns that using the drug can impair everyday tasks, such as driving or operating machinery. Allowing people to use the drugs may increase accidents due to people being under the influence of the drug. However, other countries have allowed the drug to be used for medical needs and have not seen a huge spike in cannabis related accidents.
Co-chair Baroness Molly Meacher said: “Cannabis works as a medicine for a number of medical conditions.
“The evidence has been strong enough to persuade a growing number of countries and US states to legalise access to medical cannabis.”