Big Dope: why we shouldn’t rush to legalise medical cannabis

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Cannabis must be rescheduled for medicinal purposes, says the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS), which has written to home secretary Sajid Javid to express support for moving cannabis from schedule 1 to 2. But the RPS has captured a zeitgeist and jumped on a bandwagon without brakes. And now, Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, and a group of experts are rushing to lead the ‘legalisation of medicinal cannabis’. It almost seems like a done deal.

The RPS reasons that the move would give researchers greater freedom to investigate potential medicinal uses of cannabis — as anticonvulsants in epilepsy, and as anxiolytics in palliative care, for example[1] — and to assess its effects through clinical trials. But the switch, which would make

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