Last week was a high-powered week for the medical cannabis world - not only were campaigners outside the Houses of Parliament, urging MPs to move forward with new legislation surrounding medical cannabis, but Dr. Dani Gordon - co-founder of the Primary Care Cannabis Network - featured on BBC Radio 5Live to discuss medical cannabis and squash any myths surrounding the drug.
Making medical cannabis available on the NHS
Although medical cannabis was legalised in the UK, way back in 2018, not one prescription has been processed by the NHS. Why?
Health bodies across the UK have not yet been provided with enough evidence to suggest medical cannabis is an effective treatment for people living with chronic pain and other complex needs.
Dr. Dani explains: “I’ve witnessed many patients use medical cannabis - on a private prescription - who haven’t had any adverse effects to their treatment. However, those same people have reacted or have developed side-effects to more commonly used and conventional drugs.”
Doctors across the UK are in agreement that more research is needed; however NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) Guidelines currently state medical cannabis can only be prescribed if patients suffer with:
Spasticity in MS
Nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy
Health bodies working together
Families of children living with conditions causing chronic pain, epilepsy and other illnesses are currently paying thousands of pounds each month in order to fund their child's medical cannabis treatment.
Many families are indeed now facing bankruptcy to treat their children - and are just a small group of people at turmoil over gaining access to the drug.
“We require more funding to carry out advanced studies on medical cannabis - which could help to change current legislation.
“In the UK we must continue with education - but the health bodies must get together and see what they can do to help push the movement forward. For example, NHS and NICE (decision-making bodies) should talk more to find out what they can do to speed up access to families in critical need of medical cannabis - so they don’t have to wait 10 years,” continues Dr. Dani Gordon.
The Primary Care Cannabis Network aims to expand the knowledge of cannabis-based medical treatments and is focussed on academic research, education, key-papers and open discussions. We focus specifically on the needs of GPs and as more GPs across the UK reach out to the Primary Care Cannabis Network for more information on Medical Cannabis, a bigger community is forming which will enable GPs to confidently work together and with specialists to understand the various regulatory pathways that exist within the UK.
Moving forwards into 2020, the PCCN will host a series of events on Medical Cannabis and will also be key-note speakers at other seminars within industry. For more information on these events or to be kept up-to-date with the latest news and member meeting, subscribe to our Journal Club today.