Medical cannabis has been a burgeoning field in the healthcare industry, with an increasing number of patients turning to it as an alternative treatment for health conditions. Here in the UK, the journey to access medical cannabis is becoming more navigable, thanks to the emergence of an increasing number of specialist clinics and services. However, finding the most affordable and expedient options can still be a challenge for some. Here we look at the cheapest and quickest ways to take the first step and book an appointment at a UK medical cannabis clinic in 2023.
What’s the state of play in the UK in 2023?
In the UK, legislation allows only specialist, GMC-registered doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis. To qualify, you will need a prescription from a doctor who specialises in your condition – these doctors usually for part of a Cannabis Clinic. It means that general practitioners or your family doctor are not permitted to prescribe cannabis-based products.
The medicines must be sourced from licensed producers according to UK law. Different brands of medical cannabis may source their products from different locations, but all must adhere to the stringent regulations and standards set by the UK government. It’s also important to note that medical cannabis in the UK is most commonly prescribed in the form of oils or flowers, and prescriptions can only be purchased through a licensed pharmacy.
As a rule-of-thumb, you will only be considered if you have previously failed to find relief after a reasonable trial of ‘traditional’ treatments.
The Role of Cannabis Clinics in the Health System
Medical cannabis clinics play a crucial role in ensuring access to safe, effective, and affordable cannabis-based medicines in the UK. Years of campaigning by patients, healthcare professionals, cannabis brands and industry organisations has taken the UK further than we’ve ever been before, in order to try and create easier pathways to treatment and make medical cannabis more accessible.
There’s a lot of choice out there, so let’s dive in and take a look at some of our options.
The ‘All-In-One’ Solution: Releaf
Releaf is pitched as the only ‘all-in-one’ medical cannabis service, albeit not the most cost-effective solution out there:
- Initial/sign-up consultation: £99.99
- General/follow-up consultation: £99.99
- Repeat prescription fee: £19.99
They offer consultations, prescriptions, medical cannabis, and even access to the much-coveted cannabis card, making it a one-stop-shop for patients seeking medical cannabis treatment.
Personalised Treatment Plans: Lyphe Clinic
Lyphe Clinic, another leading medical cannabis clinic in the UK, offers accessible, affordable, personalised treatment plans, with all appointments held online (as do most other UK-based clinics). In terms of pricing, they’re very competitive and
- Initial/sign-up consultation: £49.99
- General/follow-up consultation: £49.99
- Repeat prescription fee: £30
Lyphe also offer the option to speak to a Patient Advisor before you start the triage process. This is a very interesting proposition as a lot of inexperienced medical cannabis patients will find the comfort of speaking to a real person a huge benefit. To get answers to potentially worrying questions could be the difference between a patient persisting with their application and just giving up.
Affordable Access: Sapphire Access Scheme
For those concerned about cost, Sapphire Clinics offers the Sapphire Access Scheme. This scheme provides access to high-quality care at discounted appointment costs for enrolled patients at arguably the leading cannabis clinic in the UK. To qualify for the scheme, you are asked to share your data to the UK Medical Cannabis Registry, which acts as a growing evidence base for prescribing cannabis in the UK.
Although this may raise questions around data privacy, Sapphire say that although they may share the information from the registry with academic, healthcare of third party institutions, all information will be provided on an anonymised basis.
Their pricing looks like this:
Access Scheme Pricing:
- Initial/sign-up consultation: £50
- General/follow-up consultation: £50
- Quarterly checkup: £50
- Repeat prescription fee: FREE
- Initial/sign-up consultation: £210
- General/follow-up consultation: £125
- Quarterly checkup: £125
- Repeat prescription fee: FREE
Weed Delivery: An Option for Anxiety Patients!
To finish, here’s a little sidestep for you to take and some refreshingly light reading; if you’re a sufferer of anxiety, this VICE article highlighting Ross Buchanan’s quest to have medical cannabis delivered to his doorstep, is a quite brilliant piece. Very much told from a personal point-of-view, he talks you through his experience, end-to-end. Go check it out: You Can Get Weed Legally in the UK for Anxiety – So I Tried It
How can I prepare for my medical cannabis journey?
Finding medical cannabis treatment in the UK in 2023 is becoming more achievable and affordable with various clinics offering new services and integrations, but the process isn’t easy. You’ll be required to access various pieces of information about your health and treatment/medication history, so you can prepare by gathering this info in advance.
- Personal details – address, date of birth, phone etc
- Reason(s) for treatment – details about the conditions you experience
- Medical history – treatments & medications you have already tried (top tip: make sure you have access to the NHS app on your smartphone, this will provide a lot of the required information)
- Your GP info – Doctor’s name, email & surgery address
- Your body measurements – Height, weight etc
- Tobacco & alcohol consumption – intake per week
- Summary of Care – you may be asked to request this from your GP, or the clinic may ask for permission to request this on your behalf
It’s important to do your research and consult with a healthcare professional to find out which option is best suited for you.
Some clinics will offer you direct access to speak to someone before you begin, whether that’s on the phone, via email or online chat, some advice on how it all works will be vital. Speaking to other patients and