UK relaxes health rules to allow cannabis-based medicines

LONDON — The British government says doctors will now be able to legally prescribe cannabis-based medicines, following criticism over the denial of medical treatment to severely epileptic children.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid relaxed the rules Thursday after considering expert advice from a specially commissioned review. The government has no plans to decriminalize the drug for recreational use.

The government changed its stance amid publicity surrounding the case of 12-year-old Billy Caldwell, who needed to receive cannabis oil treatment to prevent life-threatening seizures.

His mother, Charlotte Caldwell, has called for the laws governing medicinal marijuana use in Britain to be liberalized, saying cannabis oil is the only treatment that has warded off her son's seizures.

British health authorities will now develop a definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product.

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