EducationCan you get a medical cannabis card for scoliosis in the UK?

Can you get a medical cannabis card for scoliosis in the UK?

7 min read

Kerry Charron

Cannabis for back pain management


Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal condition characterised by a deviation or curvature of the spine. In the UK, roughly 3 to 4 people out of every 1,000 have scoliosis. It can develop at any age, and its severity can vary from mild to severe forms. For many scoliosis patients, constant discomfort is an everyday reality, highlighting the crucial need for effective new complementary therapy options that can enhance their quality of life.

Many patients would say one of the worst parts about living with scoliosis is how the disease decreases the quality of their life and makes day-to-day activities so much more difficult. Minor tasks can be made almost impossible because of discomfort, and cognitive fog also makes daily life frustrating.

In November 2018, significant changes were implemented regarding the legal status of medical cannabis. Due to multiple decades' worth of public interest and support, coupled with a transformation in the political and social landscape regarding the perception of cannabis as a potential medical treatment option, the administration of medicinal cannabis is now permitted in the United Kingdom. It must be prescribed by a specialist doctor registered on the General Specialist Register, so the vast majority of GPs are not qualified to prescribe medicinal cannabis.

What are the typical treatment options for scoliosis?

That really depends on the severity of the condition and the patient’s age. Mild scoliosis may not need treatment at all, while moderate or severe scoliosis often requires treatment.

The most common treatments involve bracing, physical therapy, exercise, and, in extreme cases, surgery. These treatments are focused on slowing down the progression of the condition, but not all of them are effective in providing long-term relief. Scoliosis is usually diagnosed in children and adolescents, and bracing is often applied during the years that the patient is still growing to help lower the chance that surgery will be needed further down the line.

Complementary therapy options have become increasingly popular for those suffering from scoliosis, and include chiropractic adjustments, massage, and acupuncture. And there is a growing body of research showing that cannabis may be a promising treatment option for patients with scoliosis.

Can patients in the UK get a medical cannabis card for scoliosis?

Yes, you can. But not all clinics provide them. Here at Releaf, we provide all our patients with a medical cannabis card that serves as an extra layer of protection, should you be stopped while carrying your prescribed medical cannabis. 

Unlike certain US states and other countries where medical cannabis is legal, the UK does not require medical cannabis patients to hold a cannabis card.

However, it is worth noting that the process for obtaining a prescription for medical cannabis in the UK still involves meeting certain criteria and seeking the approval of a specialist doctor. With the appropriate medical consultation and documentation, patients with scoliosis can indeed receive a prescription for medical cannabis in the UK.

If you have scoliosis (or any other qualifying medical condition) and you are interested in the potential that medical cannabis has to offer, while also wanting the added security of a medical cannabis card, then you have landed in the right spot. In the next section, we will run through the entire process, and breakdown the steps necessary to receive a medical cannabis card here in the UK.

How to get a medical cannabis card for scoliosis

There are two avenues of action that you can take in order to get a medical cannabis prescription in the UK, through the NHS or through a private clinic. But currently, the NHS will only prescribe medical cannabis for rare, severe forms of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and for the reduction of nausea for cancer patients. The NHS will not provide their patients with a medical cannabis card.

So, for scoliosis patients, it is the private route that needs to be taken. There are a bunch of private clinics to choose from, but only a select few offer a medical cannabis card as part of the package. The process of receiving a medical cannabis prescription and a card is as follows:

Book an initial consultation

Your medical cannabis journey will begin with an initial consultation. Some clinics will require you to physically attend the appointment, while others will be happy to provide face-to-face video consultations (via Skype or a similar platform).

Either way, this first appointment is to assess your eligibility and to collect all necessary documentation. You will be asked to fill out a medical questionnaire and to also provide a copy of your medical records, which your GP can provide.

A doctor will then assess your medical information and make a decision on your specific case. 

Have a second consultation

If you have been approved, then a second consultation will take place. This is the more lengthy and significant appointment, as a specialist doctor will go through all your medical information in full detail. You can expect to have to answer in-depth questions about your medical history and current health.

Your doctor will evaluate the extent of your scoliosis and determine if you are a suitable candidate for medical cannabis. If you meet the criteria, a prescription will be issued. The doctor will also provide guidance on the recommended dosage, administration method, and frequency of medical cannabis administration.

Receive your prescription and medical cannabis card

As soon as you are prescribed medical cannabis through Releaf, you will receive a digital copy of your medical cannabis card. The physical copy will be sent along with your medicine.

What information does the card display?

The medical cannabis card that Releaf provides its customers with serves as a physical representation of their legal entitlement to medicinal cannabis products. The card includes the patient’s name and photo, as well as their Releaf patient number.

To keep the medical information of our patients safe, the card also has a QR code, which is password protected. Each and every time the QR code is scanned, the patient holding that specific card will receive an email with a one-time password, allowing them access to their medical information. When the QR code is scanned, the relevant legislation will also be displayed as a quick reference point, as will Releaf's dedicated phone line for authorities.

All of this is intended to make the process simple and secure, as well as to protect the patient from any potential stigma associated with cannabis-based treatments, while also offering patients an easy way to verify their medical cannabis prescription status, should they be questioned by the authorities.

All UK medical cannabis patients are legally required to carry their original prescription while in possession of their medical cannabis. The medical cannabis product must also be in its original packaging.

The Releaf medical cannabis card serves as an extra level of protection, but it is not a legally binding document. 


So, while there is no legal requirement for medical cannabis patients who suffer from scoliosis in the UK to hold a medical cannabis card, such a card can offer added security and peace of mind.

Releaf provides its patients with a unique medical cannabis card, complete with QR code for additional protection. This will ensure that patients with scoliosis can access the treatment they need without worrying about any stigma or legal issues that may arise.

Don't let the stigma surrounding medical cannabis prevent you from getting a suitable treatment. Releaf provides tailored monthly packages and specialist consultations for medical cannabis, all based on your medical cannabis prescription.

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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Kerry, with experience as a medicinal cannabis cultivation technician and expertise in business licensing applications, is passionate about developing educational content and advocating for better access to medical cannabis worldwide.

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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