CBD is available on prescription in the UK, but the process can be time consuming and expensive. The latest National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines have prevented the NHS from supplying anything but a small selection of licensed cannabis-based products.\nHowever, the introduction of several private cannabis clinics means that a range of CBD and cannabis products can be prescribed if a specialist doctor believes it’s the only practical option.\nCBD products on this site are sold as food supplements. They are not intended to assist with the diagnosis, prevention, treatment, or cure of any disease, ailment or medical condition. Any statements provided on this site are for information only and do not constitute medical advice. Read our full legal disclaimer for more information.\nWhat products are available?\nIn the UK, cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans’ (CBPM) fall into two main categories.\nLicensed CBPMs\nThese are medicines that have been trialled and approved by the MHRA for specified uses. There are three cannabis-based medicines licensed for use in the UK:\n\n\n\nEpidyolex (aka epidiolex) - This is a pharmaceutical preparation of CBD designed for oral consumption. It has 100mg per ml, which is about 10%. The pure CBD is mixed with sesame oil, dehydrated alcohol, strawberry flavour and sucralose. Specialists can only prescribe Epidyolex for seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.\n\nSativex – This is a mouth spray produced from cannabis with a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD. A specialist can prescribe it for moderate to severe cases of the muscle stiffness caused by Multiple Sclerosis.\n\nNabilone – Also known as Cesamet, this is a synthetic cannabinoid that can be prescribed by a specialist if other medicines are unable to reduce the severity of the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.\n\nBecause these medicines are licensed, their use is strictly controlled. Unless you’re receiving specialist treatment for one of the conditions mentioned, you won’t get a prescription for them.\nUnlicensed CBPMs\nAn unlicensed medicine hasn’t yet been through the authorisation process, or is being used for a different reason to that outlined in the license. Medications like this will only be prescribed after careful consideration by a multidisciplinary team of specialists. They must look at the evidence available and decide if an unlicensed medicine is the best option.\nDespite the slightly worrying term ‘unlicensed’, these products are produced to strict MHRA standards and sourced from pharmaceutical companies. There may not be enough evidence to apply for a license, but they won’t be prescribed unless the prescriber has weighed up all the options.\nUnlicensed cannabis-based medications available in the UK include:\n\n\nCannabis flower\nHemp flower\nCannabis oil\nCBD oil (doctors can prescribe higher daily amounts than is allowed by the current FSA guidance for CBD food supplements.)\nCapsules\nSprays\nTHC and CBD products for vaporising\n\nIf you receive a prescription for an unlicensed cannabis-based medication, the type and cannabinoid content of what you receive will depend on what your specialist doctor thinks is appropriate for your condition. They will write the prescription and the pharmacy will try to source it. With several specialist cannabis clinics opening in the UK, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to find a pharmacy that can fill your prescription.\nWho is eligible for a prescription?\n\nYou’re eligible for a prescription for a CBPM or CBD oil if a specialist doctor believes that it’s the most appropriate medication for your condition. This is likely to be after you’ve tried several other options and your remaining choices are limited.\nHowever, you’re only likely to receive a prescription from a private specialist doctor or a cannabis clinic. This is because NHS doctors follow the guidelines outlined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). These currently recommend that:\n\nDoctors should not prescribe CBD or THC for chronic pain.\nNabilone may be used for specific cases of nausea and vomiting.\nSativex is appropriate for some adults with MS.\nEpidiolex should only be used as part of a scientific study.\n\nIf you choose to pay for a consultation with a private specialist, they may prescribe a CBPM if you have one of the following conditions:\n\n\n\n\nChemotherapy-induced nausea\nCancer-related appetite loss\nCancer pain\nCrohn’s disease\nUlcerative Colitis\nInflammatory bowel disease\nIrritable bowel syndrome\nAutistic spectrum disorder\nEpilepsy\nAlzheimer’s disease symptoms\nChronic fatigue syndrome\nParkinson’s symptoms\nTraumatic brain injury\nMigraine\n\n\nCluster headache\nMultiple Sclerosis Neuropathic pain\nParkinson’s disease\nFunctional neurological disorder\nMotor neurone disease\nMuscular dystrophy symptoms\nDegenerative disc disease\nCerebral Palsy\nNerve conditions\nSpinal cord injury\/disease\nPost-operative surgery pain\nArthritis\/RA\nChronic pain\nFibromyalgia\n\n\nEhlers-danlos syndrome\nAttention-deficit\/hyperactivity disorder\nAnxiety\nAgoraphobia\nDepression\nInsomnia\nEating disorders\nStress\nSleep disorder Posttraumatic stress disorder\nObsessive-compulsive disorder\nTourettes\n \n\n\n\n\nHaving a diagnosis for one of these conditions does not automatically qualify you for a CBD or medical cannabis prescription. But, if you’ve unsuccessfully tried conventional medications and there are no more available to you, you may be eligible. \nHow can I get a prescription?\n\n\nIf you’ve exhausted all other options to treat your condition, you can book a consultation with a private specialist doctor or cannabis clinic. Although any doctor on the special register of the General Medical Council can legally prescribe CBPM, some may be reluctant to and might not have access to pharmacists who can fill the prescription. The best option is cannabis clinics staffed by specialist doctors who can guide you through the process and fill your prescription.\n\nIn most cases, the cost of a private consultation, repeat appointments and medication can range from a total of between £200 to £450 per month. The medicine itself is costly because multiple companies are involved from farming to production and delivery. At each stage, extra costs are added, resulting in an expensive end product. However, there are now a small number of companies who own every step of the process so are able to keep the costs down.\nAlthough the process differs with each clinic, these are the likely steps involved:\n\nFind a clinic. Several options can easily be found on Google.\nVisit their website and complete the online form. They will likely want to collect personal and medical details, including permission to access your records.\nIf you’re accepted to the next stage, you should receive information on how to pay for and book an appointment.\nAttend the appointment. This will be with a specialist doctor and may be over the phone or in person. It will likely involve a discussion about your condition and possible treatment.\nIf they decide to prescribe you a CBPM, they will talk you through the options, including possible strengths and strains. If you want a CBD-only product such as CBD oil you can discuss this with the doctor at this point.\nMost clinics will now pass your prescription to their pharmacy who will contact you to arrange payment.\n\nYou may be eligible for a subsidy with Project 21\n\nProject 21 is an ambitious research project that aims to create a large body of evidence on the effects of cannabis-based medicinal products. To do this, they hope to recruit more than 20,000 participants and offer them a £150 per month subsidy towards the cost of private medical cannabis.\nTo be accepted, you must have a history of at least two prescribed medications, that failed to manage your condition effectively and a diagnosis of at least one of these conditions:\n\nAnxiety Disorder\nChronic Pain\nMultiple Sclerosis (MS)\nPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)\nSubstance Use Disorder\nTourette’s Syndrome\n\nIf you’re eligible for Project 21, you’ll still need to make an appointment with a clinic and follow the steps above to be assessed for a prescription. However, there is a list of approved Project 21 partners that are the best place to start.\nWhat is the difference between prescribed CBD and CBD food supplements?\nCBD oils and other products with concentrations ranging from 1% to 50% are already legal and available in the UK. There are also many brands whose products undergo third-party lab tests and meet high quality and safety standards.\nThe difference with prescribed CBD is that a doctor will match a specific product and strength to your diagnosis. Because it’s an unlicensed medicine, they aren’t bound by the same restrictions as retailers are for food supplements. They can prescribe daily amounts that could even be as much as 1000mg if they consider it necessary. They could even prescribe a product with a higher level of THC if they believe that it’s the best course of action for you.\nCurrently, prescription CBD oils are likely to be slightly more expensive than food supplements and they have the additional cost of private doctors’ appointments. However, clinics and suppliers are working together to bring the prices down and make it more accessible for those who need it.\n\nConclusion\nSince the legalisation of medical cannabis in 2018, it’s taken a disappointingly long time for genuine patients to be able to access the treatment they need. However, now things are moving faster. If you go private, you can get an appointment with a specialist doctor with the ability to prescribe CBD oils and cannabis-based medications.\nJoin us to get updates and special deals monthly:\n\n \n
Tom Russell writes extensively about CBD oil and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.