Hardly any children have received medical cannabis in the seven months since its prescription was legalised, doctors say.
Former drugs tsar Professor David Nutt, a psychiatrist at Imperial College London, warned many patients are suffering epileptic seizures as they struggle to get the treatment, despite last year’s change in the law.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, he said most doctors are ‘fearful’ of prescribing cannabis oil after decades of what he called ‘absurd’ prohibition.
The law was changed in November to allow specialist doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis, following several high-profile cases in which parents were stopped from bringing the drug into Britain for children with epilepsy.
But patients have complained that it is almost impossible to persuade doctors to actually prescribe the drug.
Professor Nutt – who was sacked from his job as the Government’s chief adviser on drugs in 2009 after saying ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol – said the roll out ‘has been much slower than patients and parents had hoped’.
‘Still only a tiny number of children with severe juvenile epilepsies are being treated, and many others continue to have multiple seizures because neurologists will not prescribe,’ he wrote.