CBD Oil Prescription in the UK – Everything you need to know

UK CBPM (cannabis based medical products) Prescriptions

Cannabidiol is one of the most popular alternative therapies in the last few years, but what is the process for a high strength full spectrum CBD oil prescription and is it worth the efforts?

There is a growing body of clinical evidence as to the varied benefits of CBD. Many people who take Cannabidiol products claim that they feel less pain, fewer bouts of anxiety, and get better, more restful sleep.

In 2020, there are numerous CBD products available online as well as on the high street that could be used to gage the effects CBPM's have on your condition. From broad spectrum 4,000 mg oils to tinctures to vapes to capsules to gummies; everything you could want is available. Medical cannabis in the UK like CBD requires a prescription.

However, to get stronger CBD medications via prescription than you can buy over the counter. This covers full spectrum CBD which contains THC a controlled substance that in large amounts can effect peoples perceptions. It is however an important part of the entourage effect which believes only when all 113 cannabinoids are present can the CBPM's really help.

Can I Get CBD oil on Prescription in UK?

In England and Wales, private doctors and those employed by the NHS are legally allowed to prescribe cannabis-based medicinal products.” 

Yes, simply prove to your specially registered doctor your suffering from a ailment, try the registered medical alternatives, allow him to consult with colleagues and be convinced the CBPM's are safe and then you can have your doctor prescribe high strength full spectrum CBD oil prescription.

The issue is this is not simple, even the fact they will often ask you to try the pharmaceutical alternatives and only offer CBD or cannabis as a last resort is difficult if you have done your own research and know what you want. The public perception is moving as research and published studies proliferate people who can see the claims are backed by science so too are the public more open to medical cannabis and CBD. The medical establishment, too, is becoming more open to the idea of prescribing CBD oil products for those in need. This however is very slow with little of no new scrips issued in the 6 month to feb 2020 by the NHS with one mother challenging the NHS over its lack of progress.

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Cannabis-based medicinal products are low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the phytocannabinoid which makes cannabis users high.

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In contrast, these products are high in CBD (cannabidiol). CBD is the compound which gives cannabis its anecdotal and increasingly well-regarded medicinal properties.

What are the current CBD oil prescription guidelines?

Current guidelines in the UK state doctors on the General Medical Council’s specialist register can prescribe cannabidiol-containing products. However, whether or not they can prescribe CBD will follow a multidisciplinary discussion….not very clear you might argue! We have paraphrased some of the guidelines but please use the link about to read in full and up to date versions as it is not a easy to follow guide.

The top facts about medical cannabis prescription

  • The doctor must be on the short list approved to prescribe cannabis based products
  • The practitioner can only prescribe to their specialist area e.g paediatrics doctor is needed to prescribe to children.
  • The decision to prescribe must be taken by a multidisciplinary team.
  • Suitable licensed medicines seem to be considered first and foremost.
  • Decisions are also based on the patients needs and beliefs about cannabis use, where there is no suitable licensed medicine to meet the patients needs CBPM's will be considered.
  • They must be satisfied there is enough evidence to satisfy themselves of its safety and efficacy or inform the patient to allow them make an informed decision on that themselves.
  • they must consult with their colleagues as much as possible before prescribing if unsure.
  • Keep clear records of the discussion around cannabis based medicines with the patients.

With all of the above sounding very like a legal argument to protect yourself if anything goes astray, it is not surprising the number of scripts issued is extremely low.

How does it work

Usually, your doctor will speak with all of the people involved in your treatment. This is to ascertain how you are progressing and where you’re struggling.

If it appears to your doctor that conventional approaches are not working it may then be time to consider CBD oil prescription as a solution.

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The reason that the law says that only specialists can prescribe CBD is to protect people. Specialists, the medical establishment believes, are in the best position to evaluate the evidence and determine whether the use of cannabis-based medicines will be useful.

The first thing you need to get a CBD prescription is a valid medical condition from a doctor. It is uncommon for GPs to prescribe medicinal CBD in the UK. However, there are a clear and  particular set of circumstances outlined by their governing bodies under which they will.

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1 – You are an adult suffering severe nausea

For some time now, researchers have believed that CBD may be useful in reducing the symptoms from chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is toxic to the body and can lead to exhaustion and generalised pain.

Doctors may prescribe high-strength CBD products to patients who are suffering and struggling to cope with therapy and for whom traditional treatments are not sufficient.

2 – Your child has severe epilepsy – CBD prescription UK

There are some cases where you can get a CBD prescription for your child. At the beginning of research in CBD, researchers found that it seemed to reduce symptoms of epilepsy.

Also Read:  CBD oil for epilepsy – Can it help with seizures?

Modern mainstream pharmaceutical medications in many cases aren’t as effective as parents and doctors hoped. So your doctor may recommend that your child uses CBD to control symptoms. Many mothers and fathers have talked about the

How to get stronger CBD concentrations – prescription

Over-the-counter UK based CBD products are legal to buy in the UK without a prescription vary from 250mg to 4,000mg in a 10ml tincture. These can be purchased online, the high street as well as through dispensaries. However, there are limitations on the strength of these products.

Many people have reported feeling benefits from these widely-available CBD products. But some find that they aren’t as effective as they’d hoped or advertised.

Doctors recognised by the General Medical Council specialist register can prescribe high-dose CBD oil for a variety of ailments. High-strength types may provide sufficient incentive to help the body move back to a state of balance and health.

medical cannabis prescription uk

How to get CBD oil or medical cannabis products available on prescription?

As we’ve mentioned, CBD will not be the first medication your doctor offers.

NICE guidelines firmly state that doctors must prescribe conventional medicines licensed for specific medical conditions.

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For example, you go to your doctor regarding the side effects of chemotherapy. First, your doctor will prescribe traditional first-line drugs to manage symptoms. CBD and cancer is a highly debated topic with many believing in the entourage effect and possibility of the hemp plant being the answer for some if not everyone.

However, sometimes the case may be that the drugs aren’t as effective as you’d hoped. You may then want to seek an alternative way to reduce discomfort. You can ask your doctor, in this instance, whether they’d consider prescribing a CBD-based medicine.

Genuine medical reasons

Bottom line – if you want to get CBD on prescription, you need to have a genuine medical reason.

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Doctors in the United Kingdom are incredibly reluctant to prescribe CBD. They don’t wish to put patients on high-dosages of CBD without a legitimate underlying medical cause.

Generally speaking, doctors are conservative in their approaches. It makes sense as it’s always best to use what’s been proven to work.

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While there might be growing evidence for the efficacy of CBD there are still ample amounts of reservations. There is still not enough independently-verified research regarding CBD.

The reason that doctors tend not to prescribe CBD immediately is that there are not yet enough randomised controlled trials proving its effects.


This does not mean that CBD is useless or totally unproven. It’s just a consequence of the way that doctors are trained. Doctors often fear to prescribe medications that have not been through the traditional verification process, indeed its part of the process they have to consider before prescribing any cannabis based product, is this a proven safe and effective treatment?

To put it bluntly, when it comes to CBD the science is still in its infancy. Researchers need more time to back up the anecdotal claims of millions. Those people who use cannabis-derived products might be growing, and it is helping, but it’s not yet enough to convince the medical world.

Is prescription CBD quality-assured?

The NHS states that “no medicine is completely risk-free.”

They do, however, follow procedures to ensure that it sources CBD-containing products from reputable suppliers, including those overseas.

The NHS currently sources all of its CBD-products via the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency).

Also Read:  Where to buy CBD oil in the UK?

The MHRA regularly inspects manufacturers to ensure that they remain compliant with health and safety practices and that the quality of their product remains high. This is the body that is in charge of assuring quality CBD oil prescriptions.

Can you get synthetic cannabinoids in prescription?

Synthetic cannabinoids fall into three categories:

  • Identical in structure to naturally-occurring cannabinoids, like THC and CBD which are very different.
  • Structurally identical or similar to natural alternatives and mimic their effects.
  • Ones that look nothing like natural varieties, but can bind to the body’s cannabis receptors.

Some products fall into the first category and these are not licensed in the UK.

Nabilone is a licensed drug in the UK and falls into the second category.

There are no products in the third category currently licensed for use in the UK.

Summary- CBD and medical cannabis prescription

Yes, you can get CBD oil prescription in the UK. However, you need a genuine medical reason and to have exhausted mainstream pharmaceuticals and a doctor who is registered and comfortable with the safety and likely benefits of CBD.

Doctors can also prescribe higher-strength CBD than is available over the counter.

It may be the case that higher-strength varieties are more useful for managing symptoms. If you believe that you might benefit from prescription-strength CBD, speak with your doctor to find out if you are eligible.

Check out our full guide on how to buy CBD in the UK for personal consumption for more information. The next most important fact is how much CBD should I take, our dosage guide will help.

You may also like to read: Medical Cannabis UK – All about medical marijuana

Jon Cosgrave

Jon is a content writer and copywriter. When not grappling with words, he grapples at jiu-jitsu. His fingers are in constant agony.

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