EducationHow to get a medical cannabis card for fibromyalgia in the UK

How to get a medical cannabis card for fibromyalgia in the UK

8 min read

Sam North

How to get a medical cannabis card for fibromyalgia in the UK


Fibromyalgia is a complex and debilitating chronic pain disorder that affects individuals over the long term.

It is characterized by heightened pain sensitivity, inflammation, muscle tenderness, and disruption of sleep patterns. In addition to these physical symptoms, patients often report experiencing cloudy thinking and a persistent sense of lethargy, further impacting their daily lives. The intricate nature of fibromyalgia necessitates a comprehensive approach to both management and treatment in order to provide relief and improve the quality of life for those impacted by this condition.

The symptoms that are associated with fibromyalgia can manifest both physically and cognitively, leading to a unique set of challenges for those that are living with this condition. These symptoms include increased sensitivity to pain, muscle stiffness, sleep problems, cognitive difficulties, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems. Mental health symptoms include feelings of frustration, along with increased feelings of depression or anxiety.

Current statistics put the number of people suffering from fibromyalgia in the UK currently at around 2.5 million, which is around 1.6% of the population. Living with fibromyalgia can take an excruciating toll on patients. They often report how the disease can decrease their quality of life, making even simple tasks feel almost impossible due to discomfort and cognitive fog.

As the route of treating fibromyalgia is quite intricate and often need to be individualised, there is truly no one size fits all approach. Most patients find a holistic treatment plan that includes a range of treatment options to be the most effective way of managing their symptoms.

There is an ever-growing body of research that is heavily indicating that medical cannabis is a powerful addition to treatment plans for fibromyalgia, and can provide patients with a few key benefits.

So, how do patients in the UK access a medical cannabis prescription and a medical cannabis card?

Let's find out!

Medical cannabis and fibromyalgia

Medical cannabis became a legal reality here in the UK back in November 2018. There are two routes of access for patients, private clinics or the NHS, but in reality, only one of these is available to most patients.

The NHS offers medical cannabis for just three health issues: multiple sclerosis (MS), chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and severe forms of epilepsy. And even for these conditions, the prescription of medical cannabis is heavily restricted.

Thankfully, private clinics are able to prescribe medical cannabis for a broader range of conditions, including fibromyalgia. And while there is a range of conventional pharmaceutical options available, many patients are looking for additional complementary treatment options and ones that do not come with heavy side effects.

Medical cannabis has been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, as it can reduce pain and inflammation, improve sleep, help lower rates of anxiety and depression, while also reducing muscle stiffness and improving cognitive functioning.

Can you get a medical card for fibromyalgia

One of the commonly misunderstood aspects of medical cannabis here in the UK is that prospective patients often think that receiving a medical cannabis card is a requirement. In fact, this isn't the case.

Unlike parts of the US, and other countries where medicinal cannabis is legal, there is no legal requirement for UK medical cannabis patients to have a physical card in order to access their treatment.

All that is required is the prescription from a doctor that is on the General Medical Council Specialist Register. This means that, in all likelihood, your GP will not be able to prescribe medical cannabis.

But that doesn't mean that patients shouldn't hold a medical cannabis card, not whatsoever. Having a card in your wallet is just an added layer of protection and peace of mind.

How to apply for a medical cannabis card

The process for applying for a medical cannabis card differs depending on the clinic you receive your prescription from. Only a small handful of private clinics actually offer their patients a medical cannabis card, and Releaf is one of them.

There is no need to apply for a card when receiving your prescription through Releaf, as it is an automatic process. As soon as the doctor has confirmed your suitability for medical cannabis, you will be sent a confirmation email with further instructions on how to access and activate the digital copy of your card, and the physical copy will be sent to you in the post along with your first order.

So, how do you go about getting a medical cannabis prescription for fibromyalgia?

The process is straight-forward and easy – all you need to do is reach out to a private clinic of your choice.

During the initial stage of the process, you will be requested to fill out a comprehensive eligibility questionnaire. Additionally, you will be asked to provide a copy of your Summary Care Record (SCR), which can be easily obtained from your GP. To ensure a smooth and efficient evaluation, it is advisable to include any other supporting documents that confirm your diagnosis of fibromyalgia. These additional documents will further strengthen your application and help the doctor better understand your unique situation.

Once these documents have been submitted, your doctor will go through them in detail and assess the suitability of medical cannabis for you. If approved, you then need to have a face to face consultation with a specialist that is registered to prescribe medial cannabis. Some clinics will require you to visit in person, while others offer remote consultations. At Releaf, the entire process is digitalised and contactless, allowing you to complete the entire process from the comfort of your own home.

During this appointment, the doctor assigned to your case will go through the results of your eligibility questionnaire and SCR, in order to ensure that medical cannabis is a suitable treatment for you. They will ask a range of questions, in order to gain a better understanding of your condition, any other medications you're currently taking and the response that you have had so far.

If the doctor finds that you are indeed a suitable candidate for medical cannabis, they will then go ahead and prescribe the specific cannabis based medical products they think will offer the best possible health outcomes, and discuss all the relevant dosage and administration instructions with you.

If you decide to use Releaf, once the doctor has issued your prescription, you will be instantly given access to the digital copy of your medical cannabis card, as well as a physical copy that will arrive in the post along with your first order.

Does medical cannabis come with any possible side effects?

Although cannabis based medical products do come with the risk of some side effects, generally speaking, medical cannabis is considered to be a safe and effective treatment for patients suffering from fibromyalgia.

Side effects can include:

  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Increased anxiety or panic
  • Increased heart rate

Medical cannabis also has the ability to interact with some pharmaceutical medications, so it is important to inform your clinician if you are taking any other medications.


A medical cannabis card is not a mandatory requirement for treatment, but it can provide an additional layer of protection and peace of mind when accessing your treatment. There are many private clinics that offer patients access to medical cannabis, but only a few offer their patients the added bonus of a cannabis card.

If you, or a loved one, suffer from fibromyalgia and are looking to explore medical cannabis as a treatment option, then speaking to a specialist is the first step. Make sure that you have all the relevant documents ready and be ready to answer any questions the doctor may have.

For a contactless and hassle-free experience, Releaf offers patients all the necessary services to obtain a medical cannabis prescription and card.

Releaf is committed to providing people with access to the treatment they need, and our mission is to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and protected when exploring medical cannabis treatment options.

If you are ready to take the next step, get in touch and find out how we can help you access the medical cannabis treatment that is suitable for you.

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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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