Patients suffering rare seizures to get cannabis-based medicine on NHS for first time

PEOPLE with a rare seizure disorder now have access to a cannabis-based medicine through the NHS for the first time.

NHS England announced doctors will be able to prescribe Epidyolex to patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) from this week.

The drug could prevent thousands of life-threatening seizures


The drug could prevent thousands of life-threatening seizuresPhoto credit: Getty

Around 1,000 patients could benefit from the treatment, which activists say will be “life-changing”.

Every year, 6,000 people are diagnosed with the rare genetic condition, which causes benign tumors to develop in various parts of the body and subjects sufferers to health problems ranging from epilepsy to learning disabilities.

dr Pooja Takhar, from the Tuberous Sclerosis Association, said: “We are thrilled that people with TSC in England now have access to cannabidiol, a potentially life-changing drug for the eight in ten people in the UK who have and also suffer from TSC Treatment of TSC-related epilepsy.”

Clinical studies have shown that the oral solution containing cannabidiol (CBD) can reduce the number of seizures by up to 30 percent in some people and potentially save thousands of lives.

dr Takhar added, “Epilepsy can have a massive impact on the overall quality of life for individuals and entire families, meaning this approval could be of great benefit to many people with TSC-related epilepsy.”


A change in the law in 2018 made it legal for doctors to prescribe medical cannabis.

Since then, Epidyolex has been approved for NHS use to treat five different conditions, including multiple sclerosis, severe epilepsies known as Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and for adults suffering from chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Unlike recreational cannabis – also known as weed – medicinal cannabis does not get you high.

Most medicinal cannabis does not contain THC – the chemical that causes a high.

Instead, most medical cannabis products only contain CBD, which has no psychoactive effects but can help treat conditions like chronic pain, PTSD, and epilepsy. Patients suffering rare seizures to get cannabis-based medicine on NHS for first time

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