Medical Marijuana in the UK

Laws governing medical marijuana are the same throughout Great Britain as those for personal use. There is little or no differentiation between medical necessity/use and that of recreational pot usage. While decriminalization and/or legalization efforts continue worldwide, these laws remain basically intact since 1985.

Lenient Pot Laws

Use and possession for use of small quantities of marijuana in England and Wales is not heavily prosecuted. The most common penalties are small fines (called “street fines,” indicating that they are imposed at time and place of occurrence) and/or warnings. Little is done to penalize users of small quantities, possibly due to the somewhat universal understanding that it is not worth the time or expense to pursue those who use marijuana in small amounts and do not possess enough of the substance to warrant investigation into possible trafficking or sales opportunities. There are laws allowing for dispensation of cannabis for medical purposes, but the conditions are somewhat rigorous and those who need relief that can be provided by use of marijuana may not be able to adhere to the required conditions. Though it is not legal to use marijuana for any purpose, it is not vigorously punishable either.

Pot Alternatives

A THC-derived oil, available in England as a mouth spray, is called “Sativex,” is a prescription for pain management must be written by doctors who treat these conditions. However, recent changes in the EU laws governing medical marijuana have opened doors for possible use of when users are able and willing to obtain a prescription in Holland and travel there to obtain the pot. International laws governing all members of the EU allow for a transport of a 3 months supply into the UK with the prescription and a documented need for the substance. While this may seem a bit like smuggling, recent articles in the British press have agreed that it is all above-board and legal. Another alternative being researched is the THC-derivative pill, dronabinol, which is said to give longer-lasting pain management, but does not give the same pleasurable effects that smoking marijuana does. This may decrease addictive properties when used for those who experience pain. Pain management is a tough business, because there are no effective methods for treating pain that do not also contain high risk for addiction. Medical marijuana is argued to decrease that threat, especially if a pill form can reduce any potential pot side effects associated with this drug. updated: August 2013