CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed “momentous” plans to allow specialist doctors to prescribe cannabis products to patients from November 1.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has decided to reschedule the products, relaxing the rules about the circumstances in which they can be given to patients, after expert advice from a specially commissioned review.

The new regulations follow several high-profile cases, including those of two children with epilepsy, Alfie Dingley and Billy Caldwell, whose conditions appeared to be helped by cannabis oil containing illegal THC part of the plant.

Alfie’s mother, Hannah Deacon, from Warwickshire, said: “Today is a momentous day for every patient and family with a suffering child that wishes to access medicinal cannabis.

“We urge the medical world to get behind these reforms so they can help the tens of thousands of people who are in urgent need of help. I have personally seen how my son’s life has changed due to the medical cannabis he is now prescribed. As a family we were facing his death. Now we are facing his life, full of joy and hope which is something I wish for each and every person in this country who could benefit from this medicine.”

The new law will not limit the types of conditions that can be considered for treatment and it means doctors will no longer need to seek approval from an expert panel in order for patients to access the medicines.

However, the decision to prescribe must still be made by a specialist doctor, not a GP.

An initial review by chief medical adviser Dame Sally Davies concluded that there is evidence medicinal cannabis has therapeutic benefits.

Sir Mike Penning, co-chairman of the cross-party parliamentary group on Medical Cannabis Under Prescription, said: “Today’s announcement puts the ball now firmly in the court of the health professionals and health authorities to approach this new and exciting field of UK medicine with an open mind.”