Cannabis-based medicine for epilepsy ‘fast-tracked’ by NHS

Clinical trials have shown the treatment could reduce the number of seizures by up to 40% in some children.

The National Medical Director and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for England will write shortly to NHS doctors and pharmacists to clarify the procedure for prescribing unlicensed cannabis-based products where there is an unmet need and it is clinically appropriate.

Hundreds of children with severe epilepsy will soon have access to a cannabis-based treatment on the NHS.

Epidyolex, a cannabidiol (CBD) oral solution, was recommended for use on the NHS to treat two rare types of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, for the first time in November.

NHS England said it has been fast-tracked to be available from 6 January for children from the age of two and adults.

Campaign group End Our Pain called the move a step in the right direction, but said for people in need of products containing both CBD and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) it was “another false dawn and missed opportunity”.

A change in the law in 2018 made it legal for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis.

However, many doctors have been reluctant to do so, citing a lack of clear guidance on prescribing and issues over funding for the drugs.

How doctors have come to this conclusion is baffling, given that there were over 60 studies done in 2019 alone all with positive outcomes and recommendations for controlled trials.

CBD may be helpful in anxiety disorders according to a case series
Vaporisation may be more effective than smoking cannabis
Many patients substitute their stunning medication by cannabis
CBD-rich cannabis legally available in Switzerland may cause positive THC tests on blood and urine
The legalisation of medical cannabis in the USA is associated with lower opioid use
Cannabis may be helpful in autism
Cannabis may be highly effective in the self-management of endometriosis according to survey
Medical cannabis users reduce their intake of benzodiazepines
Low doses of CBD increased psychedelic effects of THC and high CBD doses reduced these effects
Cannabis patients reduce the use of other medicinal drugs and alcohol
Legalisation of cannabis for adult use is associated with reduced opioid use in the USA
Cannabis may be an effective pain reliever and substitute for opioids according to a survey
Cannabis may have negative effects on cancer therapy if given together with immunotherapy
In driving simulator tests 3 hours after cannabis consumption there were no longer significant faults.
Chronic pain is the main reason for the medical use of cannabis in the USA
Cannabis may be helpful in anxiety disorders according to large survey
Cannabis use was associated with higher sperm concentration
THC may reduce night sweats in cancer patients

Clearly, Cannabis does not lead to harder drug use, busting the myth of a “gateway drug” or that Cannabis is directly linked to schizophrenia.

Any underlying condition could be exacerbated by substance misuse or overexposure, however it would take roughly one individual to consume over 500g of Cannabis in a short period of time to even reach undesirable affects, despite this – not a single death has been linked to the direct use of Cannabis.

Here we can see where doctors get stuck.

If something goes wrong, the prescribing doctor could lose their license, but we must be able to act in proportion. Any drug/over/misuse of substance at a young age can be problematic.

Your kids aren’t depressed because they’re smoking weed, they’re depressed because of society and it’s current state. Weed has been taken over by black-market criminals who peddle fake, synthetics and fuel violence.

2019CannabisOpen studyCannabis use has no relevant effect on the brain on adults
2019CannabisOpen studyCannabis may have negative effects on young people with depression

A consenting adult can enjoy tobacco or alcohol providing it is in moderation and licensed accordingly.

Given the harm caused by tobacco and alcohol is 100x greater than cannabis, it’s time the country took a more pragmatic approach to this health crisis and saved a generation of potential doctors, scientists and scholars.