By Emily Ledger
Over 500 patients in Scotland are seeking medical cannabis prescriptions as the first legal clinic opens in the country. In March 2021, Sapphire Medical Clinics became the first medical cannabis clinic to receive Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) registration to safely prescribe medical cannabis products across the country.
Despite medical cannabis being legalised in Scotland at the same time as the rest of the UK in November 2018, Sapphire’s Stirling-based clinic is the first and only registered clinic in the country. In its opening week, the clinic has welcomed more than 500 new patients from across Scotland using remote telemedicine consultations.
In the future, as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, face-to-face consultations will also be offered from One Allan Park Wellbeing Clinic – a multidisciplinary clinic located in the city of Stirling.
The news has been welcomed by Stirling MP, Alyn Smith, who commented:
“I am delighted to welcome Sapphire Medical Clinics to Scotland as the first and only registered clinic to prescribe medical cannabis.
“The Stirling-based clinic, which is accessible from the surrounding areas, provides patients who suffer from conditions, such as chronic pain and anxiety, the opportunity to access this treatment. Growing the evidence base is vital to further improve patient access to medical cannabis and having met the team at Sapphire, I am pleased to see that Scottish patients will now be contributing to their comprehensive national registry database.
“I am confident that together we can bring about greater access to medical cannabis and really change lives.”
In March 2021, Sapphire Medical Clinics commissioned a YouGov poll which found that 23% of the UK population believe the main barrier to medical cannabis is uncertainty regarding its legality – despite the medicines being legalised over two years ago.
Furthermore, as CBD wellness products continue to gain popularity, the poll reveals that a staggering 85% of people don’t know that medical cannabis is less expensive than over-the-counter CBD products.
In relation to the YouGov poll, Dr. Mikael Sodergren, Managing Director & Academic Lead at Sapphire Medical, commented:
“The statistics clearly highlight the need for further education around medical cannabis, illustrated by the fact that almost a quarter of the population is still unaware that medical cannabis is legal.
“To bridge this education chasm, Sapphire Medical established the UK Medical Cannabis Registry, which is a comprehensive, prospective registry designed to collate outcomes of medical cannabis therapy.
“The aim of the registry is to expand our understanding of medical cannabis as a treatment in the UK, by collecting and analysing clinical data, and I am thrilled that Scottish patients will be contributing to the advancement of this.”
Sapphire Medical Clinics was the first clinic in the UK to be registered by the Care Quality Commission and offers professional consultations for a wide variety of medical conditions for which medical cannabis may be useful. Furthermore, as part of the clinic’s mission to improve patient access to medical cannabis products in the UK, Sapphire has also partnered with the Sapphire Medical Foundation to help reduce financial barriers of access to medical cannabis.
Patients, such as Andrew, 42 from Edinburgh, are thankful to have access to treatment. He commented:
“I am grateful to now have the opportunity to access medical cannabis via Sapphire Medical Clinics for my persistent pain condition. The
service has been very smooth and I have been kept informed throughout the process. I hope to be able to use less of the opioid medication I have been stuck with for many years.”