Fresh guidance to fill ‘information vacuum’ on new cannabis products for medicinal use

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A clinical review, published today (Saturday 6 April 2019) for the BMJ, provides new interim advice for doctors and clinicians in prescribing cannabis-based products and cannabinoids to treat certain conditions.

Since a policy change in November 2018, specialist doctors registered with the General Medical Council (GMC), have been permitted to prescribe new medicines which derive from cannabis. Yet, research into these products has, to date, been limited creating an ‘information vacuum’ about these medicines, their benefits or harms.

A new review authored by leading scientists and clinicians from the University of Bath and University College London (UCL) points to the array of different cannabis-based products and cannabinoids available, and a clear need to educate both patients and clinicians into what these different products do and how they might help.

In particular, it points to important differences between products containing THC (the main psychoactive and intoxicating constituent of cannabis) versus CBD (the non-intoxicating element). Although in certain medicines CBD and THC are combined for clinical benefit, in others these components can work independently, playing different roles in improving certain symptoms.

For example, several studies have found that a combination of THC and CBD can alleviate symptoms of chronic pain, while CBD alone may be effective for treatment-resistant epilepsy. [Read More @ Science Daily]