Prescription Cannabis-based Medicines In the UK – Get the Low Down

What are cannabis based medicines? Can doctors prescribe them? Here at Script Assist we’re passionate about cannabis education for doctors and patients alike. 

Looking for a comprehensive guide to prescription cannabis based medicine in the UK?

  • How to get cannabis on prescription in the UK effortlessly.
  • The science behind medical cannabis.
  • The different types of medical cannabis prescriptions in the UK.

Our 2-minute eligibility checker let you see if you’re likely eligible for medical cannabis

Check out our Find a Doctor page and find a private doctor that prescribes for your condition.   

If you have private medical insurance which covers your condition, you may be able to recover your consultation costs. Check which doctors are covered by your insurance provider and policy.  

Send an enquiry and provide some additional details. 

When your doctor accepts your enquiry, book a time in their diary directly.

You can pay for your consultation, or submit an authorisation code from your insurance provider, via the Script Assist App. 

If your doctor prescribes medical cannabis, you can pay for your prescription via the Script Assist App.

Pay before 3pm to guarantee next-day delivery by 1pm. 

Effortlessly track your medical cannabis prescription all the way to your door with your Script Assist App.

Never run out of medication with Script Assist. When you’re running low, based on the dose prescribed, your Script Assist App will remind you to order more medication.

Simply request a repeat prescription from any in-stock medical cannabis products that you have previously been prescribed, and your doctor can accept your request with a single click.

Your doctor may also enable you to request a repeat prescription from any equivalent medication to the medical cannabis products you have previously been prescribed.

What is the most seamless way to get a medical cannabis prescription in the UK? 

  • Connect with private doctors that prescribe for your condition
  • Book & join consultations via your Script Assist App
  • Pay & track your medicinal cannabis prescription via your Script Assist App
  • Order repeat prescriptions via the Script Assist App
  • Live inventory available via the Script Assist App
  • Instantly access your hard copy prescription via the Script Assist App

What is the science behind medical cannabis?

  • Learn about THC and CBD
  • Discover other key elements of the cannabis plant
  • Understand how your body interacts with prescription cannabis based medicines

What do I need to know about cannabis flower on prescription in the UK? 

  • Understand how to take cannabis flower on prescription
  • Discover more about dosing and strength
  • Learn more about Sativa and Indica strains

The flowers of female cannabis plants are the starting point for all prescription cannabis-based medicines.  

Contained within these flowers are the hundreds of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes we spoke about earlier. Different combinations of these chemicals represent different cannabis strains.  

After weighing the dosage agreed with your doctor, cannabis flower on prescription in the UK is only taken by vaporising it. This means heating up the flower using a vaporiser until the chemicals are released, but the flower itself is not set alight.

Vaporising medical cannabis flower is the fastest way to feel the effects of medical cannabis because your body absorbs almost all the cannabinoids through your lungs, instantly.  

However, the effects of vaporising cannabis flower on prescription ware off faster than the effects of other ways of taking medical cannabis.  

This means that flower is sometimes used by patients that require very fast onset of their medical cannabis, for example if they are suddenly in a huge amount of pain. 

Medical cannabis flower can be difficult to dose! As a natural product, active chemicals are not evenly distributed throughout the plant.  

Also, unless you take the same type of breath, for the same length, time-after-time, using the same vaporiser etc.. you’re going to struggle to ever achieve perfect dosing.  

There are several vaporisers available globally that enable measured dosing, however none have yet solved enough patient challenges for wide-spread adoption.   

The number of different strengths of medical cannabis flowers available on prescription in the UK can be confusing.  

To simplify it think about it like this. There are two “major” active ingredients – THC and CBD. Medical cannabis flower on prescription in the UK range from very low THC (1%) and high CBD (15%) to very high THC (30%) and very low CBD (1%), and everything in between. 

We understand if the number of strengths can be confusing, the number of strains can be flummoxing! 

Before we dive into the different types of available cannabis flowers on prescription in the UK, let’s brush-up on some medical cannabis flowers basics.

In the late 18th century (everybody loves a story!), there were two clearly distinguishable strains of cannabis, scientifically known as Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica.  

Cannabis Sativa was found in warmer, wetter climates, closer to the equator, in Central & South America and Southeast Asia.  

Cannabis Indica was found in the Hindu Kush region near Afghanistan, where it needed to cope with an arid and harsh environment. 

Sativa plants were tall and thin, with narrow leaves, versus Indica plants which were shorter and bushier with broader leaves. 

Sativas were also a little darker, and took longer to mature, whilst Indicas were brighter and faster maturing.  

Sativas were said to be more uplifting and energising, increasing focus and creativity. Indicas were said to be more relaxing and sedating. 

The more uplifting and energising experience of the Sativa plant was supposedly due to its greater proportion of THC versus CBD, whilst the experience of the relaxing and sedating Indica plant was supposedly due to its more balanced or higher CBD profile. 

Terpenes like limonene and pinene, which are citrusy and piney aromas, were also thought to contribute to the uplifting and energising effects of Sativas, versus the earthy, musky terpenes such as myrcene and caryophyllene found in the more sedating Indicas. 

Fast-forward three hundred years and a huge amount has changed. Thanks to the ongoing quest of cannabis breeders everywhere to develop new strains with unique effects, flavours and tastes, no single strain on the UK medical cannabis market today can be truly referred to as a pure Sativa or a pure Indica. There are numerous high-THC indica strains, for example! 

However, the Sativa / Indica split gives us a useful starting point to explore the cannabis flower landscape in the UK. 

Medical cannabis flowers on prescription in the UK can actually be classified into five different groups of strains:  

  • Sativa Dominant 
  • Hybrid: Sativa Dominant 
  • Hybrid 
  • Hybrid: Indica Dominant  
  • Indica Dominant 

We can’t list all of the medical cannabis flowers available on Script Assist categorised by type of strain on this page. Medical cannabis products that are unlicensed (which is almost all of them) cannot be “promoted.” 

However, at the point of requesting a repeat through the Script Assist patient App, we’re able to show you in-stock strains.

Talk to your doctor about which cannabis flower prescription may be right for you!   

Cannabis Oil on
Prescription in the UK 

  • Learn about full spectrum versus isolate cannabis oil on prescription
  • Understand how to take cannabis oil on prescription
  • Discover more about dosing and strength

Cannabis oil on prescription in the UK can either be a full-spectrum oil or an isolate oil. 

Full-spectrum oil is the oil that is extracted from the cannabis flower. This oil is extracted using a solvent which breaks up the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes and removes them from within the flower.  

Full-spectrum oils will be high in THC, balanced between THC and CBD, or high in CBD depending on whether the cannabis flower itself was high in THC, balanced between THC and CBD, or high in CBD. 

Sometimes the cannabis oil on prescription that you receive in the UK will actually be a mixture of different full-spectrum oils, blended to make sure they meet the THC / CBD ratio contained on the label. 

Some of the cannabis oil on prescription in the UK market are not full spectrum oils but isolates. 

Isolate oils are when specific cannabinoids (largely only CBD and THC in the UK medical cannabis prescription market) have been isolated from the plant, mixed with a specific ratio of THC to CBD and then “carried” in an edible oil such as MCT or coconut.   

The difference between full-spectrum oils and isolate oils is that full-spectrum oils contain the “full-spectrum” of all the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes contained within the cannabis flower whereas isolate oils only contain THC and CBD.  

First use the syringe that came with your cannabis oil on prescription product to measure the dose agreed with your doctor.  

Then place the syringe under your tongue and press down to release the oil. Hold the oil under your tongue for 60 seconds before swallowing.  

Cannabis oil on prescription has a different effect profile to medical cannabis flower because your body absorbs it differently.  

When holding your medical cannabis oil under your tongue, you allow the cannabinoids to absorb through the mucus membrane, taking around 15-30 minutes for you to feel the first effects.  

You feel the effects slower with medical cannabis oil than when taking cannabis flower on prescription because your body absorbs the cannabinoids slower through the mucus membrane than it does through the lung. 

However, whilst you feel the full effects of medical cannabis flower almost instantly (due to the fast absorption profile), the effects of medical cannabis oil build up slower, and then last longer.  

Dosing medical cannabis oil is considered easier to dose than medical cannabis flower. Being precise with your syringe is easier than being precise with your scales.  

It’s also worth knowing that whilst active chemicals can be unevenly distributed in medical cannabis flower, they are much more consistently distributed in medical cannabis oil. 

It’s also easy to be discrete with medical cannabis oil on prescription.    

As we know there are two “major” active ingredients in medical cannabis – THC and CBD.  

Even though all medical cannabis oil on prescription in the UK is either full spectrum or isolate, all are expressed in terms of their THC and CBD content. Remember, however that the full spectrum medical cannabis oils on prescription will also contain all of the other minor cannabinoids and terpenes.    

Medical cannabis oil on prescription in the UK range from very high THC (100mg / ml) and low CBD (1mg / ml) to very high THC (25mg / ml) and very low CBD (1mg / ml), and everything in between. 

Medical Cannabis Cartridges on Prescription in the UK 

  • Understand how to take medical cannabis cartridges.
  • Discover more about dosing and strength.

Medical cannabis cartridges are a form of medical cannabis oil that can be vaporised.  

Medical cannabis cartridges in the UK contain full-spectrum oil that has been extracted from the plant, for use with a vaporiser.  

Manufacturers are also able to introduce additional terpenes into their formulations to give unique tastes and smells.  

Medical cannabis cartridges have the same absorption rate as medical cannabis flower, meaning that the effects are felt instantly. Medical cannabis cartridges are also more convenient as they are pre-prepared. 

The effects felt when vaping medical cannabis oil may be different however, to the effects when vaping medical cannabis flower.  

It is worth knowing that because medical cannabis flower and medical cannabis oil has been available on the UK medical cannabis market for much longer than medical cannabis cartridges, doctors have more knowledge and experience with these product formats, versus medical cannabis cartridges.  

Dosing medical cannabis cartridges is easier than dosing medical cannabis flowers on prescription because there is a more consistent profile of active chemicals throughout medical cannabis oil versus medical cannabis flower.  

However, unless your vapouriser actively meters the dose for you each time, its hard to make sure that you take the exact same type of breath every single time! 

Medical Cannabis Capsules on Prescription in the UK 

  • Understand how to take medical cannabis capsules.
  • Discover more about dosing and strengt.h

Medical cannabis capsules are still relatively new to the UK medical cannabis prescription market in the UK. They are often what people think of when they are looking for cannabis pills on prescription. 

Taking medical cannabis orally is often considered the least efficient way to take medical cannabis, because your digestive system breaks down the cannabinoids in your stomach and liver, reducing the overall proportion of cannabinoids that you absorb. You also have to wait longer to feel the first effects.     

However, just swallowing capsules is much more convenient than holding medical cannabis oil under your tongue for 60 seconds! 

Manufacturers of medical cannabis capsules try and increase the efficiency of taking medical cannabis orally by preparing specific formulations of cannabinoids that are designed to be absorbed by your body through your digestive system, without being broken down by your stomach and your liver.   

You take medical cannabis capsules in the same way you take any other medication, just swallow them with water! 

Because you believe that they are as least as efficient than your medical cannabis oil.  

It’s hard, at this stage, to be evidence based about whether the absorption rates of medical cannabis capsules is significantly better than the absorption rate of any other edible form of consumption, such as just swallowing your oil (rather than holding it underneath your tongue).