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Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

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UK medical pot patients see positive changes and few adverse effects

Patients’ health-related quality of life typically improves across a broad spectrum of chronic conditions

UK medical pot patients see positive changes and little adverse effects -
Photo by Markus Winkler via Pexels (cropped)

Medical cannabis seems to be an effective treatment for a range of conditions and is more tolerable than other commonly prescribed medications, according to a recent analysis of patients in the United Kingdom.

The analysis was published online Monday, ahead of print in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. The data show that using medical cannabis as a treatment leads to a general improvement in patients’ health-related quality of life.

“There is a growing body of literature supporting the efficacy of cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs). Despite an increase in prescribing globally, there is a paucity of high-quality clinical data on the efficacy of CBMPs for many conditions,” researchers say.

Read more: Clinical trial in UK to look at medical cannabis as treatment for long Covid

Read more: London boroughs set for trial to decriminalize cannabis for young adults

Patients who were taking CBMPs saw improvements across a broad spectrum of chronic conditions at one-, three- and six-month follow-ups compared to their baseline before treatment. Positive changes were observed in general, as well as for anxiety and sleep-specific outcomes.

Researchers concluded that medical cannabis products have an “acceptable safety profile.”

The incidence of adverse effects was about 30 per cent with most (84 per cent) of those being mild or moderate and none being life-threatening, suggesting “favourable tolerability” to medications that are prescribed more often, like opiates.

Nausea was the most commonly reported adverse effect, followed by dry mouth, dizziness and drowsiness.

Most patients in the analysis were using cannabis to treat chronic pain, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and generalized anxiety disorder.

UK medical pot patients see positive changes and little adverse effects - pie charts

Most patients are using cannabis to treat pain. Charts via ‘An Updated Analysis of Clinical Outcome Measures Across Patients From the UK Medical Cannabis Registry’

Data was used from 312 patients with U.K.’s medical cannabis registry for the analysis. The mean age was 44 years old, with 140 patients identifying as female and the rest as male.

A large number of patients were using cannabis before initiating treatment, and about 35 per cent were daily consumers. On a daily basis, the median consumption was 1 gram.

The U.K. analysis produced similar results to the previous review, which showed similar outcomes after three months of treatment, and it builds on results from other studies that have demonstrated links between medical cannabis treatment and improved health-related quality of life.

With the limitations of the analysis, such as a lack of a control group, inherent selection bias, researchers say the results must be interpreted with caution, and future studies will need to build on this series to further explore CBMP outcomes.

UK's medical pot industry could reach £1.2B through reform report

Many without prescriptions, or those who can’t afford them, treat themselves with cannabis products from other sources. Green Machine CBD shop in Southgate, London. Photo by Philafrenzy via Wikimedia Commons

Regardless, researchers say the analysis is the largest and the longest follow-up period of U.K. patients treated with CBMPs to date. And as more patients are enrolled in the U.K.’s cannabis program, further long-term outcomes can be assessed.

A recent report from Volteface, an advocacy organization focused on drug policy reform, said that about 2,500 patients in the U.K. access medical cannabis through a private prescription, but it’s too expensive. And about 1.4 million people have self-medicated with illicit weed.

The organization argued that the U.K. could benefit economically by reforming drug regulations, estimating the size of the U.K. medical pot market at around £1.2 billion (around C$2 billion) and it could create more than 41,000 jobs.

Read more: UK’s medical pot industry could reach £1.2B through reform: report

 

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