Fresh evidence that cannabis reduces pain

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

The prospects for for a cannabis-based medicine to help patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions has improved with the publication of new evidence that the drug helps to reduce pain.

The prospects for for a cannabis-based medicine to help patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions has improved with the publication of new evidence that the drug helps to reduce pain.

Preliminary results from a trial of 34 patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other conditions who were in severe pain showed 28 benefited from the medicines and elected to continue on the trial.

All of the patients had been treated with other pain-killing drugs which had proved ineffective. The study, known as a Phase II trial, is the largest presented to date by GW Pharmaceuticals, a venture company which has a Home Office licence to develop drugs based on cannabis.

The latest findings were disclosed at the American Academy of Pain Management in Reno, Nevada, by Dr Willy Notcutt. Dr Notcutt said: "Given the previously intractable nature of their pain symptoms, the improvements provided by cannabis-based medicines are all the more remarkable."

The patients were given three cannabis-based medicines which contained different combinations of two of the active ingredients of cannabis, tetrahyrdrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Cannabis contains at least 60 active cannabinoids and scientists have been trying to isolate those that relieve pain and improve the function of patients.

Before the company can apply for a licence to market the drugs it will have to complete Phase III trials, which are more rigorous and involve a large number of patients.

The largest such trial of cannabis-based medicines, funded by the Medical Research Council and involving 660 patients, is nearing completion and preliminary results are to be announced next month.

Comments