Families seeking medical cannabis for their children could soon be able to get it in Harley Street when London’s first private clinic to offer the drug to youngsters opens next week.
The Sapphire Medical Clinic said it can prescribe medicinal cannabis for “all conditions acknowledged to benefit from it” — and will give families consultations “with an open mind”.
Medical cannabis was legalised last year but is unlicensed, meaning it can be prescribed only by specialists or a GP acting under the instructions of one. Parents say it is almost impossible to access medical cannabis on the NHS.
Cases such as those of Billy Caldwell, 13, and Alfie Dingley, seven, have highlighted the benefits of cannabis oil to children with epilepsy who suffer multiple seizures.
The only existing UK clinic offering medical cannabis opened in Cheadle, Greater Manchester in March. That company, The Medical Cannabis Clinics, plans to open a London branch sometime this summer, but will not have a paediatric department at the outset.
Sapphire, which opens on August 1, said its doctors — including pain specialist Dr Michael Platt — will have “complete freedom to prescribe any range of medicinal cannabis products from any available supplier”. Dr Platt said they were conscious of controversy around cannabis products with the active THC component, but were aware of anecdotal cases in which parents have shown that medical cannabis containing THC has had a “strong positive impact on the children concerned”.