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NHS lines up cannabis medicine manufacturing



The NHS is working on plans to manufacture medical cannabis products to use in clinical trials of children with severe epilepsy, the Telegraph reports.

Stephen Powis, medical director of NHS England, wrote in a letter to numerous MPs that “progress has been made on the design and approval of a randomised clinical trial in refractory epilepsy, where the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicinal products can be assessed”.

Cannabis was moved to schedule 2 of the Controlled Substances Act in November 2018, meaning it can be used medically and for research.

Previous trials have found medical cannabis can reduce seizures caused by two forms of epilepsy, Dravet Syndrome and Lennox Gastaut Syndrome.

GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidyolex is currently the only medical cannabis product currently recommended for the treatment of epilepsy in the UK, for these two conditions.

No doctor has prescribed medical cannabis to a patient on the NHS, meaning patients are often paying for private prescriptions.

This is partly because some healthcare authorities point to a lack of robust clinical evidence to prove its efficacy.

There is hope that the findings from more clinical trials, which are scheduled to start early next year, will provide evidence to support prescribing medical cannabis on the NHS.


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