Medical cannabis on prescription soon in UK

From The Independent

Medical cannabis to be available on prescription in UK after being approved for use by government

Home secretary says change is ‘in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use’

 

Medical cannabis will be made available on prescription after it was approved for use by the government.

Doctors will be able to prescribe medicine derived from marijuana“by the autumn” the Home Office announced.

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “Recent cases involving sick children made it clear to me that our position on cannabis-related medicinal products was not satisfactory.

“Following advice from two sets of independent advisors, I have taken the decision to reschedule cannabis-derived medicinal products – meaning they will be available on prescription.

“This will help patients with an exceptional clinical need.”

But Mr Javid said it was “in no way a first step to the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use.”

Possession of the class B drug will still carry an unlimited fine and up to five years in jail, while dealers face 14 years in prison.

It comes after Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy who suffers from a rare form of epilepsy, was granted an emergency licence allowing him to be treated with medical marijuana by Northern Ireland’s Department of Health earlier this month.

Billy had previously been granted a short-term licence by the Home Office to allow him access to cannabis oil, which his mother, Charlotte, says helps to control his seizures.

Ms Caldwell said the rescheduling of medical cannabis was “incredible.” She said: ”For the first time in months I’m almost lost for words, other than ‘thank-you Sajid Javid’.

“That the Home Secretary has announced that medicinal cannabis can now be prescribed by GPs on Billy’s 13th birthday is amazing. I wonder if he knew? Never has Billy received a better birthday present, and never from somebody so unexpected.

An initial review by Dame Sally Davies, chief medical adviser, concluded there is evidence medicinal cannabis has therapeutic benefits.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which carried out the second part of the review, last week said doctors should be able to prescribe medicinal cannabis provided products meet safety standards.

It recommended Medical cannabis products should be placed in Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.

Jeremy Corbyn advocates the availability of cannabis for medicinal purposes

Cannabis was previously classed as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it was thought to have no therapeutic value but can be used for the purposes of research with a Home Office licence.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) will now develop a clear definition of what constitutes a cannabis-derived medicinal product, the Home Office said.

They will then be rescheduled and made available on prescription.

Now legalize recreational cannabis, says UK public

Karen Gray, whose son Murray suffers from epilepsy and has been treated with medical cannabis, said the change represented a victory for those who sought access to the treatment.

She told The Independent: “It’s really going to help children out there, so it’s brilliant news. There are a lot of kids out there who aren’t getting this help and hopefully now they will.”

Ms Gray started a petition which garnered 240,000 signatures to make medicinal cannabis available on the NHS.

Sir Mike Penning, co-chairman of the recently established cross-party parliamentary group on Medical Cannabis Under Prescription, said: “I have just spoken to the home secretary to say how pleased I am that he has acted so quickly and I pay testament to the families and campaigners that have fought so hard to achieve this dramatic change in policy.

“This announcement brings hope to many thousands of people.

“However, there is still a very important body of work to define exactly which products will be allowed and how they will be regulated.”

He added: “Any move to restrict medical cannabis in the UK to a very narrow range of derived products, each requiring full pharmaceutical trials, thereby blocking out the many products available overseas, will lead to great disappointment and be a missed opportunity.”

Before the changes are brought in, clinicians can still apply to the independent expert panel on behalf of patients who want access to medicinal cannabis products.

The Home Secretary said licence fees for applications made to the panel will be waived, and those already granted will not be charged

Genevieve Edwards, director of external affairs at the MS Society, said: “This is exceptional news and we want to thank the home secretary for the speed at which this decision has been made.

“We started campaigning for cannabis for MS exactly a year ago and it’s incredible to see how far we’ve come since then. The priority now has to be making sure everyone who could benefit can access cannabis in a safe and responsible way.

“We plan to work closely with the Government to determine what exactly this will mean for people with MS. This life-changing decision could help thousands with the condition who haven’t been able to find relief for their pain and muscle spasms.”

Cannnabinoids and the Entourage effect

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Entourage Effect

The term entourage effect refers to a concept and proposed mechanism by which compounds present in cannabis which are largely non-psychoactive by themselves modulate the overall psychoactive effects of the plant (these resulting principally from the action of the main psychoactive component of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)).

Cannabidiol (CBD) is believed to be the major modulatory component of cannabis, mitigating some of the negative, psychosis-like effects of THC, and is included in some medicinal formulations alongside THC.[1][2] CBD co-administration also reduces the negative effects of THC on memory.[2] Myrcene, which is recognized as a sedative component in hops, may be responsible for the sedative effects (“couch lock”) of certain cannabis strains (sedative effects are commonly ascribed to the indica cannabis type). Linalool may also contribute to the entourage effect, modulating the glutamate and GABA neurotransmitter systems to produce sedative and anxiolytic effects.[3]

 

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Background

The phrase entourage effect was introduced in 1998 by S. Ben-Shabat,[4] and by Raphael Mechoulam,[5] to represent a novel endogenous cannabinoid molecular regulation route. The phrase refers to the compounds present in cannabis supposedly working in concert to create “the sum of all the parts that leads to the magic or power of cannabis”, according to Chris Emerson.[1] Other cannabinoids’, terpenoids’, and flavonoids’ contribution to clinical cannabis effects has been espoused as an “entourage effect”.

The entourage effect is considered a cannabinoid system modulator and is achieved in pain management through increasing receptors affinity to enhance endogenous anandamide activity and/or reducing enzymatic anandamide degradation.[6]

Pharmacology

Endogenous 2-acyl-glycerols can increase 2-arachidonoylglycerol biological activity, which alone shows no significant activity. This entourage effect may represent a novel endogenous cannabinoid activity molecular regulation route.[4] Cannabinoid system modulators like N-palmitoylethanolamine may be said to exhibit the entourage effect, increasing receptors affinity to enhance endogenous anandamide activity and/or reducing enzymatic anandamide degradation.[7]

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c Chen A (20 April 2017). “Some of the Parts: Is Marijuana’s “Entourage Effect” Scientifically Valid?”Scientific American. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  2. Jump up to:a b Fine PG, Rosenfeld MJ (2013-10-29). “The endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids, and pain”Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal4 (4): e0022. doi:10.5041/RMMJ.10129PMC 3820295Freely accessiblePMID 24228165.
  3. Jump up^ Russo EB (August 2011). “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects”British Journal of Pharmacology163 (7): 1344–64. doi:10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.xPMC 3165946Freely accessiblePMID 21749363.
  4. Jump up to:a b Ben-Shabat S, Fride E, Sheskin T, Tamiri T, Rhee MH, Vogel Z, Bisogno T, De Petrocellis L, Di Marzo V, Mechoulam R (1998). “An entourage effect: inactive endogenous fatty acid glycerol esters enhance 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol cannabinoid activity”. European Journal of Pharmacology353 (1): 23–31. doi:10.1016/S0014-2999(98)00392-6PMID 9721036.
  5. Jump up^ Gupta S (11 March 2014). “Medical marijuana and ‘the entourage effect’ – CNN”CNN. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  6. Jump up^ Jerome, Bouaziz (April 1, 2017). “The Clinical Significance of Endocannabinoids in Endometriosis Pain Management”Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research2 (1). doi:10.1089/can.2016.0035. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  7. Jump up^ Bouaziz J, Bar On A, Seidman DS, Soriano D (April 1, 2017). “The Clinical Significance of Endocannabinoids in Endometriosis Pain Management”Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research2 (1): 72–80. doi:10.1089/can.2016.0035PMC 5436335Freely accessiblePMID 28861506.

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