Following a review last month, the government's chief medical adviser Professor Dame Sally Davies concluded there is evidence medicinal cannabis has therapeutic benefits.
Mr Javid stressed the move "is in no way a
first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use", with penalties for unauthorised supply and possession of the drug remaining unchanged.
The Department for Health and Social Care and the Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency
(MHRA) will now develop a clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-based medicine.
Specialist clinicians will then be able to prescribe products that meet safety and quality standards by the autumn, the government said.
Former Tory minister
Sir Mike Penning, who leads the all-party parliamentary group on medical cannabis under prescriptions, welcomed the news but warned against restricting access to a "narrow range" of products.
He said: "I pay testament to the families and campaigners
that have fought so hard to achieve this dramatic change in policy.
Medicinal cannabis for patients with 'exceptional clinical need' will be legalised by autumn, the Home Secretary announced today. The decision follows a few high profile cases
Senior doctors will be able to prescribe cannabis-based medicines in the UK later this year after the government agreed to ease a ban.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced the decision while admitting the current law is "not
It follows recent high-profile cases in which children with severe epilepsy were initially denied access to cannabis oil to control seizures.
This announcement brings hope to many thousands of people. However, there is still a
very important body of work to define exactly which products will be allowed and how they will be regulated.
"There are a whole range of medical cannabis products currently available in other countries that are manufactured to a consistent high standard
and have a proven track record of effectiveness and safety.
"These should be made available to UK patients.
"Any move to restrict medical cannabis in the UK to a very narrow range of derived products each requiring full pharmaceutical trials,
thereby blocking out the many products available overseas will lead to great disappointment and be a missed opportunity."
My Son an adult now, Is it maybe too little too late or does it mean a broad spectrum of patient's with Refractory Epilepsies?