Answers to the key questions: How to get CBD on prescription? Who's eligible? What products are available? How different are these to CBD supplements? 11 Things You Didn’t Know About CBD Gummies Everyone is talking about CBD gummies. Now that hemp-derived CBD products are federally legalized (as long as they have 0.30% or less THC). There are
Can you get CBD on prescription?
CBD is available on prescription in the UK, but the process can be time consuming and expensive. The latest National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines have prevented the NHS from supplying anything but a small selection of licensed cannabis-based products.
However, the introduction of several private cannabis clinics means that a range of CBD and cannabis products can be prescribed if a specialist doctor believes it’s the only practical option.
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What products are available?
In the UK, cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans’ (CBPM) fall into two main categories.
These are medicines that have been trialled and approved by the MHRA for specified uses. There are three cannabis-based medicines licensed for use in the UK:
- Epidyolex (aka epidiolex) – This is a pharmaceutical preparation of CBD designed for oral consumption. It has 100mg per ml, which is about 10%. The pure CBD is mixed with sesame oil, dehydrated alcohol, strawberry flavour and sucralose. Specialists can only prescribe Epidyolex for seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
- Sativex – This is a mouth spray produced from cannabis with a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD. A specialist can prescribe it for moderate to severe cases of the muscle stiffness caused by Multiple Sclerosis.
- Nabilone – Also known as Cesamet, this is a synthetic cannabinoid that can be prescribed by a specialist if other medicines are unable to reduce the severity of the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
Because these medicines are licensed, their use is strictly controlled. Unless you’re receiving specialist treatment for one of the conditions mentioned, you won’t get a prescription for them.
An unlicensed medicine hasn’t yet been through the authorisation process, or is being used for a different reason to that outlined in the license. Medications like this will only be prescribed after careful consideration by a multidisciplinary team of specialists. They must look at the evidence available and decide if an unlicensed medicine is the best option.
Despite the slightly worrying term ‘unlicensed’, these products are produced to strict MHRA standards and sourced from pharmaceutical companies. There may not be enough evidence to apply for a license, but they won’t be prescribed unless the prescriber has weighed up all the options.
Unlicensed cannabis-based medications available in the UK include:
- Cannabis flower
- Hemp flower
- Cannabis oil
- CBD oil (doctors can prescribe higher daily amounts than is allowed by the current FSA guidance for CBD food supplements.)
- THC and CBD products for vaporising
If you receive a prescription for an unlicensed cannabis-based medication, the type and cannabinoid content of what you receive will depend on what your specialist doctor thinks is appropriate for your condition. They will write the prescription and the pharmacy will try to source it. With several specialist cannabis clinics opening in the UK, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to find a pharmacy that can fill your prescription.
Who is eligible for a prescription?
You’re eligible for a prescription for a CBPM or CBD oil if a specialist doctor believes that it’s the most appropriate medication for your condition. This is likely to be after you’ve tried several other options and your remaining choices are limited.
However, you’re only likely to receive a prescription from a private specialist doctor or a cannabis clinic. This is because NHS doctors follow the guidelines outlined by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). These currently recommend that:
- Doctors should not prescribe CBD or THC for chronic pain.
- Nabilone may be used for specific cases of nausea and vomiting.
- Sativex is appropriate for some adults with MS.
- Epidiolex should only be used as part of a scientific study.
If you choose to pay for a consultation with a private specialist, they may prescribe a CBPM if you have one of the following conditions:
Cancer-related appetite loss
Inflammatory bowel disease
Irritable bowel syndrome
Autistic spectrum disorder
Alzheimer’s disease symptoms
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Traumatic brain injury
Multiple Sclerosis Neuropathic pain
Functional neurological disorder
Motor neurone disease
Muscular dystrophy symptoms
Degenerative disc disease
Spinal cord injury/disease
Post-operative surgery pain
Sleep disorder Posttraumatic stress disorder
Having a diagnosis for one of these conditions does not automatically qualify you for a CBD or medical cannabis prescription. But, if you’ve unsuccessfully tried conventional medications and there are no more available to you, you may be eligible.
How can I get a prescription?
If you’ve exhausted all other options to treat your condition, you can book a consultation with a private specialist doctor or cannabis clinic. Although any doctor on the special register of the General Medical Council can legally prescribe CBPM, some may be reluctant to and might not have access to pharmacists who can fill the prescription. The best option is cannabis clinics staffed by specialist doctors who can guide you through the process and fill your prescription.
In most cases, the cost of a private consultation, repeat appointments and medication can range from a total of between £200 to £450 per month. The medicine itself is costly because multiple companies are involved from farming to production and delivery. At each stage, extra costs are added, resulting in an expensive end product. However, there are now a small number of companies who own every step of the process so are able to keep the costs down.
Although the process differs with each clinic, these are the likely steps involved:
- Find a clinic. Several options can easily be found on Google.
- Visit their website and complete the online form. They will likely want to collect personal and medical details, including permission to access your records.
- If you’re accepted to the next stage, you should receive information on how to pay for and book an appointment.
- Attend the appointment. This will be with a specialist doctor and may be over the phone or in person. It will likely involve a discussion about your condition and possible treatment.
- If they decide to prescribe you a CBPM, they will talk you through the options, including possible strengths and strains. If you want a CBD-only product such as CBD oil you can discuss this with the doctor at this point.
- Most clinics will now pass your prescription to their pharmacy who will contact you to arrange payment.
You may be eligible for a subsidy with Project 21
Project 21 is an ambitious research project that aims to create a large body of evidence on the effects of cannabis-based medicinal products. To do this, they hope to recruit more than 20,000 participants and offer them a £150 per month subsidy towards the cost of private medical cannabis.
To be accepted, you must have a history of at least two prescribed medications, that failed to manage your condition effectively and a diagnosis of at least one of these conditions:
- Anxiety Disorder
- Chronic Pain
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Substance Use Disorder
- Tourette’s Syndrome
If you’re eligible for Project 21, you’ll still need to make an appointment with a clinic and follow the steps above to be assessed for a prescription. However, there is a list of approved Project 21 partners that are the best place to start.
What is the difference between prescribed CBD and CBD food supplements?
CBD oils and other products with concentrations ranging from 1% to 50% are already legal and available in the UK. There are also many brands whose products undergo third-party lab tests and meet high quality and safety standards.
The difference with prescribed CBD is that a doctor will match a specific product and strength to your diagnosis. Because it’s an unlicensed medicine, they aren’t bound by the same restrictions as retailers are for food supplements. They can prescribe daily amounts that could even be as much as 1000mg if they consider it necessary. They could even prescribe a product with a higher level of THC if they believe that it’s the best course of action for you.
Currently, prescription CBD oils are likely to be slightly more expensive than food supplements and they have the additional cost of private doctors’ appointments. However, clinics and suppliers are working together to bring the prices down and make it more accessible for those who need it.
Since the legalisation of medical cannabis in 2018, it’s taken a disappointingly long time for genuine patients to be able to access the treatment they need. However, now things are moving faster. If you go private, you can get an appointment with a specialist doctor with the ability to prescribe CBD oils and cannabis-based medications.
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Tom Russell writes extensively about CBD oil and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.
11 Things You Didn’t Know About CBD Gummies
Everyone is talking about CBD gummies. Now that hemp-derived CBD products are federally legalized (as long as they have 0.30% or less THC). There are many people who live in states without a medical cannabis program. And CBD supplements can unlock some of the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids for symptom management.
If you have been thinking about buying CBD gummies, the first thing you should know is that not all CBD supplements are created equal. There is a difference between clinical grade CBD and other products that may be available on the market. Read the label carefully to educate yourself on the difference. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not currently have standards for CBD products, which means a high number of ‘fake CBD’ supplements available online.
Here are eleven important things you should know about CBD gummy supplements:
1. They Taste Good
In the early days of innovating edibles, gummies had a medicinal taste. That’s not the case anymore. While a CBD supplement in the form of a gummy shape with fruit flavoring will never taste as good as candy, it doesn’t smell like cannabis. And it doesn’t taste like cannabis either.
The CBD is derived from hemp, which is not as pungent or strong smelling. So, if you open a package of gummies in the car, your vehicle is not going to smell like weed, which is a good thing. Part of the appeal is that CBD gummies can provide most of the health benefits of cannabis, discreetly and conveniently.
Many people try CBD oil. It is convenient and affordable to use by sublingual uptake. That is administering drops under the tongue for rapid absorption. The problem? The oil typically tastes bad. There is a reason why some people add their CBD oil to coffee or tea or orange juice. And it leaves an aftertaste. Most CBD gummies taste great and have no aftertaste.
Get your free bottle with this special offer. Pay only shipping.
2. CBD Gummies May Help With Inflammation
Did you know that most chronic diseases are caused by inflammation? We tend to think of inflammation as swelling after an injury. But at the cellular level, your body is constantly fighting inflammation because it can do a lot of damage to your health.
Our modern diets aren’t the best. Even when you try to eat a healthy and balanced diet, you are eating preservatives unless you are shopping exclusively at a health food store. Chemicals that are not natural and not found in organic food sources. They are meant to extend shelf life. Make the food we eat to look better and taste better. But these artificial additives wreak havoc on our bodies.
One of the scary things about inflammation is that you may not recognize the signs. Often, people suffer from high inflammation where the symptoms are virtually invisible for years. Your physician may not even realize it as a health problem for you until you develop an associated chronic disease.
The health risks associated with chronic or long-term inflammation include:
- Memory impairment
- Cholesterol imbalance
- Elevated CRP levels
- Aches and pains
- Skin problems
- Digestive issues
Chronic Inflammatory Diseases (CIDs) can trigger your body to overreact in defense responses. For example, inflammation is one of the causes of the most severe cases of Covid-19. For Covid-19 patients, a cytokine storm happens, which attacks the body’s immune defenses. Chronic inflammation is one of the common features for patients most at risk for life-threatening response to the coronavirus.
3. You Can Get Low-Carb or Keto CBD Gummies
Some people with health conditions like diabetes have to be very careful about the number of carbohydrates they consume daily. There are carbohydrates in healthy foods too, which are not as bad for you. For example, the fruit has naturally occurring sugars but also fiber. That helps offset the impact on blood glucose levels.
But other foods, which are simple carbohydrates, are high on the glycemic index. That means it is just a small amount of simple carbohydrates, and your blood sugar will rise quickly. The immediate effect for people with diabetes are symptoms like dry mouth, headaches, hyperactivity, or mood variances like irritability.
Over the long-term, a diet that is high in carbohydrates can create health problems. For people with diabetes, vision damage and nerve damage resulting in numbness or neuropathic pain. High blood sugar also weakens the immune system, leaving some people with chronic diseases prone to serious infections. And sometimes, those infections can be life-threatening. So, choosing low-carbohydrate foods and supplements is a good idea.
Many manufacturers of CBD gummy supplements are now using Monk Fruit to sweeten their products. That is a sweetener that is healthier than other alternatives, and it is low on the glycemic index. You may have to search around for a CBD gummy made with Stevia or Monk Fruit, but they are out there for people on carbohydrate restricted diets.
4. CBD Gummies Are Easier on Your Throat and Lungs
When you take a CBD edible, it is non-psychoactive. That means you will not experience the same intoxicating effects of smoking medical cannabis. That makes CBD ideal for daytime use when you have symptoms of pain, inflammation, or anxiety.
Some people have respiratory conditions like asthma or emphysema. That makes smokable CBD varieties (vape oil), or smokable hemp flower is not a good alternative. The inhalation of smoke can irritate or aggravate symptoms.
Eating a CBD gummy is safer than smokable varieties, but CBD absorption through the digestive tract is slower. That means that the benefits of the cannabinoids last longer and are released over time, which is also economical and convenient for people who want to use CBD to naturally manage pain and inflammation symptoms.
5. Very Minimal Side Effects with CBD Gummies
Some people with health conditions are concerned about the interaction between prescription medications and medical marijuana. There are very few medications that can be contraindicated with medical marijuana. Talk to your doctor for advice if you have a medical card and prescription medication review.
It is virtually impossible to ingest too much cannabidiol with CBD gummies. Taking CBD gummies may produce only two side effects:
- Dry mouth
- Decreased ability to absorb prescription medications or other supplements
One of the safety considerations about CBD gummies that you should discuss with your doctor pertains to liver functioning. Supplement CBD gummies can impact the way your liver absorbs prescription drugs. That is why it is very important to discuss your use of CBD gummy supplements with your primary care physician (PCP).
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6. Supplementing CBD Can Boost Your Antioxidant Levels
Every day we are ingesting things called free radicals into our body. Think of free radicals like these microscopic invaders that enter the body, and attach to healthy cells. And when they do, they create damage to the cell. Damage that spreads and can result in serious health risks over time through cellular oxidation.
Free radical damage is also linked to premature aging and impaired organ functioning. Clinical studies have also connected free radical damage to chronic diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
The human body has a natural defense against free radicals. Glutathione and other antioxidants are produced in the liver. The antioxidants are like a security team that is dispatched to “seek and destroy” free radicals. And remove them from the body.
Clinical grade CBD gummies also provide an antioxidant boost for your body. And can help reduce free radicals and cellular damage linked to chronic and neurodegenerative diseases.
7. CBD Supplements May Help Reduce Cancer Activity
There are many clinical studies that have reported CBD may help reduce certain types of cancer. In animal testing on mice and rats who were dosed with CBD, there were antitumoral results. In plain language, the CBD appeared to reduce the growth rate of test subjects’ tumors.
Some of the studies suggested that:
- Cannabidiol may inhibit functions in the body (including inflammation) that can increase cancer risk.
- CBD may prevent tumor cells from spreading.
- Cancer cell growth may be inhibited with the long-term use of cannabidiol.
- CBD may help kill tumors or help achieve cancer remission for certain types of cancer.
There is no hard evidence that cannabidiol will cure cancer. However, an exciting new study was published that is providing new hope for patients living with cancer. Read: “Cannabinoids in Cancer Treatment: Therapeutic Potential and Legislation.”
8. Cannabidiol (CBD) May Help Reduce the Severity of Seizures
How effective are cannabinoids at reducing some of the symptoms of epilepsy? This is one area of cannabinoid research that has been conclusive. Patients with epilepsy who receive cannabinoid treatments can experience fewer seizures. It can also help reduce the severity of seizures for children and adults with moderate to severe epilepsy.
Cannabinoids work to reduce seizures that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked prescription medications that are cannabis derived. Specifically for Dravet Syndrome or Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy, which is diagnosed in children.
Photo Credit: garagestock | Deposit Photos
9. CBD Gummies Daily May Help With Anxiety and Depression
Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in the United States? It is estimated that there are about 40 million American adults who have one or more types of anxiety disorders. Or approximately 18.1% of the population, according to The Anxiety & Depression Association of America.
Many people living with anxiety do not seek formal treatment. Even though there are a variety of treatment options available, including prescription medications and talk-therapy. According to the ADAA, this is concerning because as many as 36.9% of Americans never seek treatment or help for their anxiety disorder. And anxiety predisposes patients to other health risks, including compromise of the immune system and psychiatric disorders.
Supplementing CBD Can Help Balance Receptors Responsible for Mood and Healthy Sleep
Cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce anxiety and depression by acting on two different regions and functions of the brain. The adenosine and serotonin receptors are responsible for controlling heightened emotions when someone experiences anxiety. And serotonin is responsible for overall mood, including happiness and sadness and symptoms of depression.
When adenosine receptors are working well, your body effectively manages stress. But if the receptors are impaired and not working, anxiety levels can peak. People who struggle with depression or low mood have in common the impaired functioning of serotonin receptors. And if serotonin receptors are also not working correctly, it can cause insomnia.
Researchers do not fully understand how it works. But what they do know through clinical studies is that cannabidiol can positively affect both the serotonin and the adenosine receptors. That can provide relief for people who struggle with anxiety or depression.
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10. People With Insomnia May Improve Sleep Quality
You may not have depression or anxiety, but you could have chronic insomnia. This condition impacts approximately 30% to 48% of older adults in the United States. The Sleep Foundation reports that 23.8% of teenagers may have chronic anxiety.
Cannabidiol may help people with chronic insomnia improve their sleep quality. In one study, while comparing to a placebo, patients dosed with CBD slept longer, with fewer interruptions. With doses of 25 – 175 mg, after a three-month study and follow -up 51.6% of the participants had reported improved sleep. But 26.8% of people had reported sleep quality declined.
That suggests that CBD may work for many people who struggle with insomnia. And because CBD gummies are easy to take (and tasty) before bed, it makes the supplement an excellent alternative to consider compared to prescription sleep medications.
Some people with insomnia experience higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol at night. It is normal for higher levels of cortisol to happen in the morning to provide additional ‘wake up energy.’ Cannabidiol may help regulate or lower cortisol levels gently to improve sleep.
11. Can Help Reduce Bacterial Infections
People who have autoimmune diseases like cancer, lupus, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and celiac disease are prone to infections. That means bacterial and viral infections can become serious. Or even life-threatening for people with chronic diseases. And there are some bacterial infections like MRSA and sepsis that have been shown to resist treatment with antibiotics.
Prior to the Covid-19 health crisis and pandemic, clinical researchers evaluated CBD as a potential treatment for superbugs. Those are types of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. It is important to research because the World Health Organization has acknowledged that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are approaching dangerous levels of threat worldwide.
Researchers that tested CBD against bacteria strains (staph) and streptococcus (strep) found some interesting results. The clinical tests showed that:
- CBD is less likely to increase the resistance of bacteria.
- CBD can kill certain types of bacteria within three (3) hours. That is compared to an average of 6-8 hours for standard prescription antibiotics.
- CBD works best for gram-positive bacteria. That includes bacterial infections that cause skin infections and pneumonia. It was less effective for gram-negative bacteria like E.coli and salmonella or gastrointestinal infections.
With more clinical testing and medical data, we may see a future where physicians routinely prescribe clinical-grade cannabidiol (CBD) to patients with infections. Or for post-operative care to help reduce skin or surface infections after discharge from the hospital. This could include CBD gummies and topical ointments applied for daily wound care.
Patients with chronic and autoimmune diseases may also use CBD to reduce the risk of contracting a bacterial infection. Since the side-effects are nominal for most patients, taking a daily CBD supplement may prove beneficial.
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