Scotland’s first legalised cannabis clinic has been endorsed by one of the SNP’s most senior members, after it welcomed hundreds of patients in its first week of opening.

In March 2021, it was announced Scotland was to get its first medical cannabis clinic, after receiving approval from regulators.

Sapphire Medical Clinic, based in Stirling, is the first medical cannabis clinic to be approved by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS), and will provide safe access to medical cannabis for patients in Scotland.

READ MORE: First medical cannabis clinic for Scotland approved in Stirling

In its very first week, the clinic welcomed more than 500 new patients across Scotland via remote telemedicine consultations.

However, once Covid restrictions are lifted, the clinic will also offer Scottish patient’s face-to-face appointments in the city of Stirling.

Stirling MP Alyn Smith welcomed the news, saying he was "delighted" that the clinic would become the first and only registered clinic to prescribe medical cannabis.

He said: "The Stirling-based clinic, which is accessible from the surrounding areas, provides patients who suffer from conditions, such as chronic pain and anxiety, the opportunity to access this treatment.

"Growing the evidence base is vital to further improve patient access to medical cannabis and having met the team at Sapphire, I am pleased to see that Scottish patients will now be contributing to their comprehensive national registry database.

"I am confident that together we can bring about greater access to medical cannabis and really change lives."

For patients such as 42-year-old Andrew from Edinburgh, the service offers a chance to become weaned from addictive opioid medications. 

"I am grateful to now have the opportunity to access medical cannabis via Sapphire Medical Clinics for my persistent pain condition", he explained. 

"The service has been very smooth and I have been kept informed throughout the process.

"I hope to be able to use less of the opioid medication I have been stuck with for many years."

Earlier this year Sapphire Medical commissioned a poll around the UK population’s understanding of CBD through YouGov.

In Scotland, 23% of the population said the main barrier to medical cannabis access is the lack of certainty if it is legal, over two years after it was made legal.

Meanwhile, a total of 9% of the population is taking over the counter or prescribed CBD products, and a staggering 85% of Scots said they didn't know that medical cannabis is less expensive than over the counter wellness CBD.

Dr. Mikael Sodergren, Managing Director & Academic Lead at Sapphire Medical, said: “The statistics clearly highlight the need for further education around medical cannabis, illustrated by the fact that almost a quarter of the population are still unaware that medical cannabis is legal.

“To bridge this education chasm, Sapphire Medical established the UK Medical Cannabis Registry, which is a comprehensive, prospective registry designed to collate outcomes of medical cannabis therapy.

"The aim of the registry is to expand our understanding of medical cannabis as a treatment in the UK, by collecting and analysing clinical data, and I am thrilled that Scottish patients will be contributing to the advancement of this.”