UK Leading The Way In Medical Cannabis Research

Since 2018, doctors in the UK have been recommending medical cannabis for several health conditions, such as chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia and childhood epilepsy.

Recently, at the annual International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) Annual Conference in Galway, Ireland, doctors from Sapphire Medical Clinics presented 20 pieces of research describing the outcomes and safety of medical cannabis therapy in patients with a wide spectrum of disorders, including the health conditions listed above.

Researchers, also, will present data from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry - a medical cannabis registry in Europe, which has now enrolled over 5,000 patients.

"The outcomes of nearly 2,833 patients with a range of conditions for which medical cannabis was prescribed in 2019. The conditions included chronic non-cancer pain, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain. The average age of the patients was 42 years and 43% were women," reads the analysis.

“This study, the largest observational series of patients prescribed cannabis-based medicinal products in the UK, demonstrates an association with improved general health-related quality of life up to 12 months. In addition, specific improvements in generalized anxiety and sleep quality were also observed. The majority of adverse events were mild and moderate,” researchers said.

“Whilst randomized controlled trials are essential to determine causality, this study helps inform current clinical practice and future trials, whilst also being a fundamental component of pharmacovigilance.”
In addition, researchers presented studies on which medical cannabis could be a treatment for palliative care, headache disorders, insomnia, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and inflammatory bowel disease.

“Medical cannabis is not a panacea, and not all patients respond to therapy. However, we do know from the latest review of the literature published in the British Medical Journal of medical cannabis oils in chronic pain that they produce, on average, a 10% improvement in pain scores in patients. That may not sound a lot – but for patients where nothing else has helped, this reduction in pain is greatly valued,” said Dr. Simon Erridge, head of Research and Access at Sapphire Medical Clinics.

“The research we are presenting at ICRS is very complementary to existing studies and helps us to further understand the long-term effects of therapy. Most notably we have demonstrated both condition-specific and overall improvements to health-related quality of life. These outcomes are reported by patients and directly reflect changes they experience in day-to-day life,” Erridge added.

Researchers demonstrated through subgroup analysis that patients who had never used cannabis before had an overall improvement as a group. This would suggest that the quality of medical cannabis prescribed by a trained practitioner is an important facet of cannabis-based therapy.

“We are pleased that through collecting, analyzing, and publishing this data we are playing our part in ensuring the UK is a leader in medical cannabis research. However, randomized controlled trials are still necessary. For the UK to remain at the forefront, it is important that funding bodies such as the National Institute for Health Research recognize the promising signals we present in our research and the potential impact these may have through committing funding towards further randomized controlled trials,” Dr. Erridge concluded. “In the meantime, we will continue to publish the promising real-world effects seen in UK patients.”
Photo By Stephen Cobb On Unsplash

Posted In: Dr. Simon ErridgeInternational Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) Annual Conferencemedical cannabismedical marijuanaSapphire Medical ClinicsUK Medical Cannabis RegistryCannabisEurozoneMarkets

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