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Cancard Newsletter Article

Cancard Newsletter Article

Some concerns have been raised by practices regarding the ‘Cancard’ website and its proposed ‘GP endorsed’ ID card. Applications are said to have been opened from 1st November 2020. The Cancard for medicinal cannabis is being offered to patients who meet the following criteria:

  • Have a diagnosis (confirmed by their GP) that is currently being prescribed for privately
  • Have tried two types of prescription medication or have discussed and discounted these options based on side effect profile or dependence concerns
  • Are unable to afford a private prescription
  • Are required to be in possession of a small amount of cannabis to manage their symptoms.
  • Are at risk of criminalization

Cancard is a holographic photo ID card advertised for people who may qualify for a legal private prescription of a cannabis-based product who are unable to afford one, so are self-sourcing cannabis. The Cancard is reportedly designed to be a ‘flag’ to police during a stop and search that a person is using self-sourced cannabis medicinally. According to the website, the police have been briefed on the card. Application for the card is accessed through the website where applicants can check eligibility, upload photographs and instructions are given to contact the GP surgery for a copy of the summary care record.

The RCGP and BMA explained in a statement that they support the use of ‘cannabis-based products for medicinal use in humans’ under supervision of specialist clinicians or prescription of MHRA authorised licenced products by doctors who have the necessary clinical experience and competences. They also support the call for further research into the safety and potential indications for use of these medical products.

However the RCGP  and BMA do not support the use of the Cancard, nor the suggestion that UK registered GPs sign a declaration confirming a diagnosis in order for the card to be issued.

The Cancard website states that the card has been designed in collaboration with GPs but neither the RCGP nor BMA have been formally consulted or given endorsement. The RCGP and BMA do not belief it is justifiable to encourage the purchase of unregulated unlicensed cannabis products from unregulated or illegal dealers.

If a patient meets the criteria for an NHS prescription for an MHRA authorised drug then this may be issued where appropriate. Those patients on low incomes or with medical conditions qualifying for prescription charge exemption will be exempt from prescription charge in line with current regulations.

Read the RCGP clinical advice here

Read the BMA guidance here

Further LMC guidance on cannabis-based products can be found here