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


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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