Pain Relief with Medical Cannabis in the UK

Pain Relief with Medical Cannabis in the UK

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the potential use of medical cannabis for pain relief in the United Kingdom. Medical cannabis, derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, contains compounds known as cannabinoids that have shown promising effects in alleviating various types of pain. This comprehensive guide aims to provide an overview of the current landscape of medical cannabis for pain relief in the UK. This will include their legal status, available treatment options, potential benefits, and patient considerations.

1. Understanding the Legal Status of Medical Cannabis in the UK

In November 2018, the government rescheduled certain cannabis-derived medicinal products, allowing specialist doctors to prescribe them under certain circumstances. However, it is important to note that the recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in the UK.

2. Available Treatment Options

In the UK, medical cannabis is available in various forms, including oils, capsules, sprays, and dried flowers. These products contain different ratios of cannabinoids, primarily cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is non-intoxicating and has shown potential therapeutic effects, while THC is responsible for the psychoactive properties of cannabis.

3. Potential Benefits of Medical Cannabis for Pain Relief

Medical cannabis has been reported to relieve patients suffering from chronic pain conditions, such as neuropathic pain, cancer-related pain, and multiple sclerosis-associated pain. The cannabinoids in medical cannabis interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates pain perception, inflammation, and immune function. Research suggests that cannabinoids may have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties.

4. Considerations for Patients

Before considering medical cannabis for pain relief, patients must consult a healthcare professional knowledgeable about this treatment option. The decision to prescribe medical cannabis is typically made on a case-by-case basis, considering the patient’s medical history, previous treatment options, and the potential risks and benefits of medical cannabis. Patients should also be aware of potential side effects of medical cannabis, including drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, and changes in appetite. Therefore, it is important to start with low doses and gradually titrate up to find the optimal dosage for pain relief while minimising side effects.

5. Accessing Medical Cannabis in the UK

Access to medical cannabis in the UK is primarily through a prescription from a specialist doctor. A few clinics have opened up that offer the complete solution of both the prescription and the cannabis flower, such as Releaf. General practitioners are not authorised to prescribe medical cannabis. Specialist doctors consider various factors when determining whether to prescribe medical cannabis, including the patient’s medical condition, previous treatment response, and the availability of supporting evidence.

6. Research and Evidence

While there is growing anecdotal evidence and some clinical studies suggesting the potential benefits of medical cannabis for pain relief, more robust research is needed to establish its efficacy, safety, and optimal dosing. Ongoing clinical trials and observational studies are exploring the use of medical cannabis in different pain conditions, which will contribute to a better understanding of its potential role in pain management.

7. Patient Experiences and Testimonials

Many patients in the UK have reported positive experiences with medical cannabis for pain relief. Their testimonials highlight the potential of medical cannabis to improve the quality of life and reduce dependence on traditional pain medications. However, individual experiences may vary, and it is important to approach medical cannabis as a treatment option with realistic expectations.


Medical cannabis has emerged as a potential alternative to pain relief in the UK. While legal issues have evolved to allow specialist doctors to prescribe medical cannabis, patients need to approach this treatment option with caution and under the guidance of healthcare professionals. Ongoing research by companies like releaf and patient experiences will continue to shape your understanding of the benefits and limitations of medical cannabis for pain relief. As the field progresses, it is essential to balance patient access, safety, and the need for rigorous scientific investigation. In addition, each patient’s experience of pain and response to treatment can vary. Therefore, it is crucial to work closely with healthcare professionals who can provide individualised care and monitor the effectiveness of medical cannabis in managing pain.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 18, 2023

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