Ensuring access to safe, effective, and affordable cannabis‐based medicines

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology“Over the past decade, patients, families, and medical cannabis advocates have campaigned in many countries to allow patients to use cannabis preparations to treat the symptoms of serious illnesses that have not responded to conventional treatment.

Ideally, any medical use of a cannabinoid would involve practitioners prescribing an approved medicine produced to standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), the safety and effectiveness of which had been assessed in clinical trials. The prescriber would be fully acquainted with the patient’s medical history and well‐informed about the safety and efficacy of cannabinoid medicines and know the most appropriate formulations and dosages to use and how they should be used in combination with other medicines being used to treat the patient’s condition. Current medical use of cannabinoids falls short of these expectations and regulations.

There is reasonable evidence that some cannabinoids are superior to placebo in reducing symptoms of some medical conditions.

There are no short cuts in making quality‐controlled cannabis‐based medicines available to patients in ways that ensure that they are used safely and effectively. In the absence of industry interest in funding clinical trials, governments need to fund large, well‐designed clinical and clinical pharmacological studies that will enable cannabinoids to play a more evidence‐based role in modern clinical practice. In the meantime, the clinical pharmacology field needs to share high‐quality data on the safety, efficacy, and pharmacology of medical cannabinoids as it becomes available. This should be presented in ways that permit the information to be regularly updated and provide clinically useful guidance on how these medicines should be used.”



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