Cannabis oil is on sale in a number of local chemists and health food shops and is in high demand among the community, particularly those in chronic pain.

The product contains cannabidiol (CBD) which was classified as a medicine by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in December 2016. It does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis compound which causes a person to get ‘high’ or ‘stoned’.

“We have stocked cannabis oil for a month,” said Niall Corry, owner and pharmacist in Corry’s Chemist on Enniskillen’s Darling Street, “People are asking for it for pain relief. We had to look into the legalities of it. It is definitely growing in popularity.”

He stressed: “The pharmacist will oversee the sales of cannabis oil so that it is used in the right way.”
Mr. Corry explained that the cannabis oil is being sold as a food supplement.

The Impartial Reporter visited five Enniskillen premises from East Bridge Street up to Darling street. Three of the businesses – Nature’s Choice Health Food Shop, Gordon’s Chemist and Corry’s Chemist – stock cannabis oil. Two others did not. In one store the product cost between £20-£35.

Nailin McManus, pharmacist in Erne Pharmacy commented: “We don’t stock it at the minute but we will probably contact our suppliers to look into it because we are receiving a lot of queries about it from our patients, including one patient who had sourced it for chronic pain. It seems to be used for conditions where all other drugs don’t seem to be dealing with the issue.”

On a facebook post in April, Nature’s Choice, which is owned by pharmacist Nuala Lilley, notified followers that it had restocked on cannabis oil after the first batch had sold out. They wrote: “We have been inundated with requests. Thanks for all your patience, we had no idea this product was going to be so sought after. It’s a sad reflection really of the number of people out there living in chronic pain. We really hope cannabis oil brings relief.”

Making its ruling in December, the MHRA stated: “We have come to the opinion that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) used for medical purposes are a medicine. 

Medicinal products must have a product licence (marketing authorisation) before they can be legally sold, supplied or advertised in the UK, unless exempt. Licensed medicinal products have to meet safety, quality and efficacy standards to protect public health.
“If you use CBD and if you have any questions, speak to your GP or other healthcare professional. We have written to UK CBD stockists and manufacturers to inform them of our view. 
“We can provide regulatory guidance to any company who may wish to apply for a licence.” 

Eleven-year-old Castlederg boy Billy Caldwell and his mother hit the headlines two months ago when Ms. Caldwell was successful in having medicinal marijuana prescribed through the NHS. 

They had been travelling to the USA to get cannabis oil to help treat his epilepsy which often saw him suffer up to 100 life-threatening fits a day. 
Billy was helped by his local GP Dr. Brendan O’Hare who prescribed him the cannabis oil.