EducationGetting a medical cannabis card for multiple sclerosis

Getting a medical cannabis card for multiple sclerosis

7 min read

Sam North

Getting a medical cannabis card for multiple sclerosis


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that affects over 130,000 people here in the UK, with seven thousand plus new cases identified each year. It is around three times more common in women than men, and although it can develop at any age, it is most often diagnosed in people in their late twenties to mid-forties.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for MS, but there are a range of treatment options available to help manage the condition and reduce the severity of the symptoms. Conventional pharmaceutical options include immunomodulators, anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressants, and muscle relaxants. But these options don't always offer patients the type of symptomatic control they need to lead a full and active life.

Thanks to sweeping (and somewhat unexpected, but extremely welcome) changes to legislation in November 2018, medical cannabis is now a legal reality in the UK. It can be accessed through both the NHS and private clinics, but the NHS has, up until this point, been slow to embrace medical cannabis – with only three conditions currently being recognised as suitable for treatment through the National Health Service. Private clinics have the flexibility to prescribe medical cannabis for a much wider range of conditions.

Unlike parts of the US, medical cannabis cards are not legally required to access medicinal cannabis prescriptions here in the UK. However, some private clinics choose to provide their patients with a card to provide additional peace of mind and an extra level of protection, Releaf included.

What is multiple sclerosis?

MS is a degenerative, inflammation-based condition that attacks the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. In the simplest of terms, it disrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and can lead to issues with movement, sensation, and cognition.

The major physical symptoms range from tingling and numbness in the limbs, to loss of balance and coordination, vision problems, and heavy fatigue. But, along with physical issues, MS can also cause a wide range of cognitive, emotional, and mental health issues – including anxiety and depression.

The condition is characterised by its unpredictable nature, with symptomatic periods that can range from a few weeks to over a year before typically subsiding for a period of time.

What is a medical cannabis card?

As we mentioned in the introduction, some private clinics provide their patients with a medical cannabis card to offer additional protection and peace of mind.

As they are not legally required, stating what is and is not a medical cannabis card here in the UK is somewhat challenging. But, with that said, most cards do offer a few basic common features.

The cards are typically issued in the form of an ID card, and contain all of the patient information, such as name, address, and date of birth. The cards also typically carry the logo or branding of the issuing clinic or service provider. They may also state the patient's medical condition, and in some cases, the type or brand of medical cannabis that has been prescribed.

Why is it important for cannabis patients with MS to have a medical cannabis card?

There are a few key reasons why patients who have been prescribed medical cannabis may want to also have a medical cannabis card.

The first is legal protection. Releaf provides each patient with a medical cannabis card that features a QR code linked to their secure, password-protected individual record in our database. This eliminates the need for sensitive information to be openly displayed on the card itself. In the event that a patient is questioned by a police officer or another official regarding their medical cannabis, they can present their card as proof of their legal right to possess it. This ensures privacy and legal compliance, while also providing peace of mind.

The Releaf Medical Cannabis Card features a QR code that enables law enforcement officers to scan it with their phones and retrieve a patient's current prescription details. Releaf will send the patient an email requesting authorization for police access, using a One Time Password. Upon approval, the patient's prescription information will be displayed, along with a notification to the police confirming their active patient status and the prescriber's signature.  

On top of the protection and privacy the card provides, having a medical cannabis card is also important for MS patients, as it can prove invaluable in emergency situations. It can help healthcare professionals quickly identify the patient's medical needs, ensuring prompt and appropriate care. This additional layer of detail ensures that MS patients can receive the necessary treatment and support when it matters the most.

How to receive a medical cannabis card for MS

The first step is to receive a prescription for medical cannabis. Before the initial consultation, you will be asked to complete a detailed online questionnaire regarding your medical history, lifestyle, and current symptom severity. You will also be asked to provide your Summary Care Record (SCR), so it's a good idea to request this from your GP before your appointment.

If you are deemed to be an eligible candidate for a medical cannabis, the initial consultation will be followed by either an in-person meeting with a specialist, or an online video consultation who will review the results of this questionnaire and you should expect to be asked about your current medication, past medical history and any other details that could be relevant to determining the best treatment plan.

If the specialist does find that prescribing medical cannabis is the most suitable option for you, then they will issue a prescription with relevant dosing guidelines. This may also include some guidance on how to access the medication.

Finally, you will be issued a medical cannabis prescription. If you decide to use Releaf as your private cannabis clinic, you will instantly receive a digital copy of your medical cannabis card, and the physical copy will be shipped with your first prescription.

Are there any support services available for MS sufferers in the UK?

Yep, there sure are.

  • The Multiple Sclerosis Society is the UK's largest charity for people affected by MS and offers a variety of support services. This includes one-on-one emotional support, advice on welfare benefits, exercise classes, discounts at leisure centres and gyms, and even residential breaks away from home. You can find support through The Multiple Sclerosis Society right specific right here.
  • The Multiple Sclerosis Trust is another charity dedicated to providing information and support for people living with MS. They offer free, confidential telephone advice and a range of online resources covering topics such as practical tips for managing symptoms, understanding diagnosis and treatments, and other related information. The charity also run an online forum where MS sufferers can communicate with one another to share their stories and experiences, as well as access support from the wider MS community.

Final thoughts

At Releaf, we recognize the importance of medical cannabis in helping to treat MS and other medical conditions. We're passionate about providing our patients with the tailored support they need, such as consultations with specialists, monthly packages for easy access to medication, and even a unique medical cannabis card for extra protection.

The medical cannabis card that we provide offers our patients legal protection, privacy, and peace of mind – as well as extra assurance in emergency situations. If you're looking for access to medical cannabis with an extra level of security, Releaf is here to help. Reach out to us today and let's get started on your journey towards improved health and wellbeing.

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Sam North, a seasoned writer with over five years' experience and expertise in medicinal cannabis, brings clarity to complex concepts, focusing on education and informed use.

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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