A UK medical cannabis clinics group has supported more than 1,500 patients to access treatment in 2020.
The Medical Cannabis Clinics (TMCC) has revealed it recently reached the significant milestone of consulting and prescribing for over 1,500 patients in the last 12 months.
This works out at 60 percent of an estimated total of 2,500 cannabis patients in the UK, for which pharmacy Dispensary Green, owned by LYPHE Group, fulfills almost all medications.
At the end of 2019, despite the change in legislation to allow for medical cannabis prescriptions being then a year old, only a few dozen patients had been able to access treatment.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the milestone represents a “dramatic improvement” in the state of care in the UK, according to TMCC – with predictions of up to 15,000 patients in the UK by the end of 2021.
While there is still more to be done in creating a deeper evidence base for wider access broader to medical cannabis, TMCC, which is led by a team of twenty-five prescribing specialist doctors, is hoping for another year of “exponential growth”, and “expanded and improved care” in 2021.
“Everyone at TMCC is delighted to have made this much progress in 2020,” said TMCC medical director, Dr Sunny Nayee.
“From almost a standing start in the previous year, we’re now providing patient care to many who need it. This is a great foundation on which to grow, and that means helping even more patients still.”
TMCC provided a snapshot of medical cannabis patients in the UK, revealing that almost three quarters of patients are aged between 25 and 54.
Around 40 percent of patients are based in London and half are receiving treatments for chronic pain conditions, with 24 percent using medical cannabis for mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and PTSD and only three percent of patients receiving medical cannabis primarily for the management of intractable childhood epilepsy.
Who is accessing medical cannabis treatment?
- Demographics of treatments are revealing, with 73 percent of prescriptions being written for patients between the ages of 25 and 54.
- Only 11 percent of prescriptions have been written for patients aged 24 or under, of which only 4 percent are written for patients 17 or under, reflecting the greater degree of caution and scrutiny in prescribing for younger patients.
- Considering the substantial clinical potential of medical cannabis in managing later life ailments, there is still clearly work to be done in opening up treatments to elderly categories, with only 15 percent of prescriptions being written for patients over the age of 55.
- Further evidence to support the use of CBMPs for relevant conditions, as well as more education to remove prevalent misconceptions of medical cannabis in older age groups, will likely improve this picture.
- The gender distribution of patients is predominantly male (66 percent) over female (34 percent).
Where are patients from?
- London remains the main centre of activity in the UK with around 40 percent of patients coming from this area.
- Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol account for 22 percent of other patient activity and Leeds, Nottingham and Liverpool a further 12 percent, with the remaining quarter of consultations distributed outside of urban areas throughout the country.
What conditions are most commonly being treated?
- Reflecting one of the primary areas of interest in and application for medical cannabis, around 50 percent of patients are receiving treatments for chronic pain conditions. These are often conditions like lower back pain, arthritic pain or pain relating to conditions like MS.
- A further 24 percent of patients are receiving medical cannabis care for psychiatric conditions. Often used as an adjunct to psychiatric care, treated conditions range from PTSD to anxiety and depression.
- Adult neurology represents around 11 percent of TMCC care to date, and these prescriptions are usually written for the management of symptoms relating to MS and other movement disorders.
- Complex care patients, such as those in palliative care or those needing combined clinical support to treat difficult conditions, represent six percent of patients.
- Gastroenterology conditions make up three percent of prescriptions, for conditions such as Crohn’s or IBS. This proportion is the same for oncology patients, where medical cannabis can be prescribed to manage chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV)
- Paediatric neurology patients complete the picture, with around three percent of patients receiving medical cannabis care primarily for the management of intractable childhood epilepsy.
The Medical Cannabis Clinics is a telemedicine clinic specialising in innovative cannabis-based medical therapies. For more information visit themedicalcannabisclinics.com
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