Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine today secured a government promise to support trials of medicinal cannabis as an important step towards making it available on the NHS.

In response to a question from Ms Jardine Health Minister Gillian Keegan announced the UK Government will be supporting a programme of two randomised clinical trials into products which contain CBD, CBD plus THC and a placebo.

The announcement follows discussions which Ms Jardine had with the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, in January. 

It was the Secretary of State who legalised medicinal cannabis when he was Home Secretary three years ago, but in that time only three NHS prescriptions have been issued.

Liberal Democrat Ms Jardine welcomed the news. She said: “I am delighted that the government has listened to our calls and is supporting these trials which, hopefully, can break the deadlock and bring closer the provision of NHS prescriptions for children who desperately need them. 

“I have seen first-hand the transformative effect medical cannabis can have on children with epilepsy. That is why it is so welcome that the government has taken these steps today. 

“There is however still a lot more that can be done in the short term to alleviate the strain on these families who have fought so hard for their children. I hope this signals the beginning of more support for them from this government, especially in the short term.

“We also need to recognise that medicinal cannabis can be an important contribution to the relief of pain and suffering for thousands of people in this country including those children with rare forms of epilepsy, but also many others with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.”