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
UK Fibromyalgia to host two-part webinar on medical cannabis and CBD
A two-part series will educate on the experiences of those living with fibromyalgia and arthritis
UK Fibromyalgia, a magazine dedicated to the chronic condition, will host a two-part webinar discussing the role that medical cannabis and CBD can play in treatment.
UK Fibromyalgia has joined forces with Integro Clinics, Primary Care Cannabis Network, Cannabis Patient Advocacy and Support Services (CPASS) and PLEA (Patient-led Engagement for Access) to present a two-part webinar discussing fibromyalgia, arthritis and cannabis medicines.
An approximate 1.5-2 million people suffer from fibromyalgia and 10 million have arthritis in the UK. The management of the symptoms of these conditions can take a long time to diagnose correctly and can take even longer before they are effectively brought under control.
This two-part series aims to educate attendees on the experiences and lives of those living with fibromyalgia and arthritis, as well as show the benefits that cannabis medicines and CBD can have in alleviating symptoms of these conditions.
Ann-Marie Bard is one of three patients, who will be speaking at the second episode of the webinar. She suffers from fibromyalgia and takes medical cannabis to manage her symptoms. She shares her story from diagnosis to gaining her CBMP prescription and describes how it has improved her quality of life.
Ann-Marie was a respected and accomplished full-time dental surgeon, having practised for over 25 years before she developed fibromyalgia.
In October 2018, she started to experience unexplained pain all over her body, but as is very common, she did not get a final diagnosis until March 2021. She eventually saw a rheumatologist, who was able to classify what she was experiencing as fibromyalgia. This only happened as a result of an emergency dash to the hospital as she was in such crippling pain.
Anne-Marie said: “I had a major flare-up at work and had to go to the hospital, it was just terrible. I was in severe pain and couldn’t walk, this was by far the worst attack I had ever had. That’s when things became clear and having seen a rheumatologist, I found out it was fibromyalgia, causing my pain.”
“I was put on various medications such as steroids and pain killers; tramadol, amitriptyline and duloxetine. At first, these helped the pain slightly, but the side effects made me feel like a zombie, I had ‘brain fog’, exhaustion and I wasn’t able to drive while I was on them.”
Her fibromyalgia led to her losing the full use of her hands and she was left unable to grip, which meant that she could no longer perform surgery. This had a devastating effect on her mental and psychical health.
It reached the point, that the side effects of these conventional medicines were becoming unbearable. She had first read about Dr Anthony Ordman, a well-known pain consultant and medical lead at Integro Clinics in a UK Fibromyalgia Magazine.
Ann-Marie decided that medicinal cannabis might be worth trying as a solution to her pain. After first seeing Dr Ordman, she immediately felt that she had come to the right place to help her deal with her condition.
Anne-Marie said: “Dr Ordman made me so calm and at ease. I found the whole process so easy because I was speaking to someone who truly listened, understood everything there is to know about fibromyalgia and cared. He really went the extra mile, keeping my GP in the loop and letting them know exactly what he was going to prescribe. Speaking to him made me feel secure and that I was going to get the help that I needed.”
Ann-Marie was prescribed a mix of THC and CBD cannabis oil, which she found had a hugely positive and beneficial effect.
Fibromyalgia and cannabis
She added: “The cannabis oil has helped me so much, taking it means I can actually get on with things like yoga, gardening and driving as there is no ‘brain fog’ effect. I can be present mentally, rather than being spaced out and spend more quality time with my family. For me, there are no side effects from the oil, it doesn’t feel like it did when I was on all of the traditional medications. The oil has given me my life back. Cannabis medicines really should be more accessible for everyone, they have changed my life and I believe they can help people in a similar situation to me.”
Ann-Marie believes that more needs to be done to raise awareness when it comes to medical cannabis. She thinks that the NHS should understand that it really is a substantial alternative to conventional medicines.
She explained: “I’m taking part in the webinar because I believe, ultimately, that this medicine should be more accessible. Fibromyalgia sufferers should have access to information about medical cannabis and I hope to raise more awareness of it, letting people know that there are other options than just traditional opioids.”
To register for this free event please follow the links to get your tickets:
Part 1: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/168090997699
Part 2: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/168112536121
If you would like further information or to speak to Dr Anthony Ordman please contact Integro Clinics:
Dr Anthony Ordman senior clinical adviser and hon. clinical director Integro concluded: Integro Medical Clinics Ltd always recommends remaining under the care and treatment of your GP and specialist for your condition, while using cannabis-based medicines, and the Integro clinical team would always prefer to work in collaboration with them.
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Royal Society of Medicine and Integro Clinics announce pain and cannabis medicines event
The event takes place on October 11 from 8:30 to 17:30. It will explore the potential of cannabis medicines in the field of pain medicine in the UK
The Royal Society of Medicine has announced a collaborative event, Pain and cannabis medicines: Everything you want to know (but were too afraid to ask) in association with Integro Medical Clinics.
The event takes place on October 11 from 8:30 to 17:30. It will explore the potential of cannabis medicines in the field of pain medicine in the UK
Since the legalisation of cannabis medicines on prescription in November 2018, patients and clinicians alike have been awaiting more data or information regarding these medicines.
The event aims to provide those attending with a comprehensive understanding of the uses of cannabis medicines and the practicalities of using them in their own practice. It will consist of presentations on the history, regulatory environment and pharmacology of cannabis medicines including the use of different cannabis-based medical preparations in treating pain and related symptoms in a wide variety of clinical fields in the context of the current UK regulatory framework.
The day will feature presentations from international leaders in cannabis medicines such as Professor Raphael Mechoulam, the chemist who discovered the endocannabinoid system and THC, Dr Anthony Ordman, Leading UK Consultant in Pain Medicine and previous President of the Pain Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine and Dr Arno Hazekamp PhD, who worked as Head of Research and Education at Bedrocan, the first European company to produce EU GMP grade cannabis medicines.
Dr Anthony Ordman, Consultant in Pain Medicine
Founder of the highly respected Chronic Pain Clinic at London’s Royal Free Hospital, he is one of the UK’s most experienced specialists in the treatment of pain. For his contributions to Pain Medicine, Dr Ordman was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians in 2005, and he is the Immediate Past President of the Pain Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine. Dr Ordman is also Senior Medical Consultant and Lead Clinician at Integro Medical Clinics and has a special interest in the potential benefits of cannabis medicines in pain medicine.
Alex Fraser, Patient Access Lead at GrowPharma
Alex Fraser is a leading medical cannabis patient advocate. He is a patient himself having been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2010 at 19 years old. In 2014 he founded the United Patients Alliance and has since appeared on mainstream media multiple times, including on the BBC and ITV, to highlight the urgent need for access to cannabis medicines for the many patients who may benefit from them. He has taken delegations of patients to parliament to give testimony to politicians at the highest levels and organised educational events, rallies and protests calling for law change on medical cannabis. In February 2019 Alex joined Grow Pharma, one of the leading suppliers of cannabis medicines in the UK, as their patient access lead. He utilises his extensive knowledge of medical cannabis, his understanding of patient needs and his network in the industry to ensure patient voices are heard and represented. His work includes informing top-level policymakers, educating healthcare professionals and conceiving and running projects that increase general awareness and provide practical help for patients.
Professor Raphael Mechoulam, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel
Most well-known for the total synthesis of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System. Since the inception of his research in the 60s, Professor Mechoulam has been nominated for over 25 academic awards, including the Heinrich Wieland Prize (2004), an Honorary doctorate from Complutense University (2006), the Israel Prize in Exact Sciences – chemistry (2000), the Israel Chemical Society Prize for excellence in research (2009) and EMET Prize in Exact Sciences – Chemistry (2012
Dr Sally Ghazaleh, Consultant Pain Specialist
Dr Sally Ghazaleh, is a Pain Management Consultant at the Whittington Hospital, and the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery, London. She qualified from the University of Szeged Medical School, Hungary in 2000, and then completed her specialist training in the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Semmelweis University in 2007. She went on a fellowship at University College Hospital, London, to gain her higher degree in Pain Medicine
During her time at the pain management Centre at University College Hospital, she gained extensive experience in dealing with and managing patients with complex multiple pain problems. She is accomplished at a variety of interventional and non-interventional treatments for this specific patient group. Sally specializes in managing patients with lower back pain, neck pain, neuropathic pain, abdominal pain, cancer pain, complex regional pain syndrome, post-stroke pain and Fibromyalgia. She has a particular interest in bladder and abdominal pain in women, and women’s health in general.
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