Defining the clinically appropriate prescription of medical cannabis
a more detailed analysis of the NHS England and NHS Improvement’s report on the Barriers to accessing cannabis-based products for medicinal use on NHS prescription
There is a great deal to say about 2 recent publications; NHS Barriers to Prescribing Review and NICE Guideline for CBMPs, and whilst there are areas for optimism, in the most part, both illustrate that we are not making anywhere near the kind of progress that patients should be able to expect from our “world-class” medicines approval and healthcare systems. When you consider the progress being made in other jurisdictions, “world-class” is not something the UK will be able to boast for much longer unless there are significant changes made across the board.
The 40th meeting of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) was a specially convened session dedicated to carrying out pre-reviews of cannabis and cannabis-related substances and was held in Geneva, Switzerland, 4-7 June 2018. The 41st meeting will be in November 2018
Currently, in the UK, cannabis in its raw form, which is a comparatively recent amendment in the wording, sits in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MODA) which defines it as having no therapeutic benefit and a high potential for abuse. At the same time, GW Pharmaceuticals has had a medicine extracted from the raw cannabis plant, Sativex, approved in 2011 by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for Multiple Sclerosis patients. The next product in their pipeline, Epidiolex, which consists of purified cannabinoid CBD (Cannabidiol) (99.1%) along with traces of other cannabinoids also extracted directly from the raw plant material has recently been granted pre-approval by the FDA in the US, to be fully confirmed in June 2018. It has been submitted for approval in Europe and will be in the UK shortly as a medicine for children with severe forms of epilepsy.