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International Women’s Day: 30 women leading the way in cannabis

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For International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating those women who are truly making their mark on the cannabis sector.

 

From the best female-focused CBD brands to trailblazing campaigners, researchers, prescribers and patients, these are some of the women who are going above and beyond to pave the way for the future of the cannabis industry.

 

Hannah Deacon, campaigner, co-founder of Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society & director, Maple Tree Consultants

Hannah Deacon is an award winning medical cannabis campaigner. She ran a campaign in 2017/18 with the lobby group End Our Pain, which resulted in her son Alfie Dingley receiving the first legal NHS prescription for medical cannabis. His doctors received a permanent schedule one license in June 2018 which enabled them to prescribe legally for Alfie.

Hannah now continues to campaign for fair access to medical cannabis treatments on the NHS and is also the Executive Director of The Medical cannabis Clinicians society and Director of Maple Tree Consultancy. Through this work she hopes to help create a patient focused sector which will benefit patients like her son Alfie.

 

 

 

Vera Twomey, campaigner

Vera spearheaded the campaign for access to medical cannabis in Ireland firstly on behalf of her daughter Ava Barry and subsequently on behalf of thousands who continue to seek access to medication for their family members.

Her commitment and dedication to the advocacy for cannabis has become known across the UK Europe and North America. Vera has spoken within the House of Commons and The European parliament as well as all around the Rep of Ireland and Northern Ireland on the topic of medical cannabis.

Her book “For Ava” details the struggle and dedication she exhibited to achieve access to medication for her daughter. A regular speaker surrounding the issue of medical cannabis Vera Twomey can be credited with bringing the issue of cannabis into the public sphere in Ireland. Her exceptional determination can be given significant credit for the positive changes made by the government to move the issue of cannabis in the Rep of Ireland forward.

 

Dr Dani Gordon, researcher & medical cannabis expert

Dani is recognised as a leading expert in cannabis medicine, speaking internationally and working as a consultant to some of the first cannabis medicine clinics in the UK. She has treated thousands of patients with medical cannabis alongside pharmacotherapy, nutritional medicine, MBSR and evidence-based mind-body techniques to help manage stress-related conditions.

She had a leading cannabis medicine referral-based practise in Canada as an integrative medicine specialist where she specialised in the treatment of complex chronic conditions including anxiety, fibromyalgia, depression, insomnia and chronic pain. She is an educator and consultant for clinical research in cannabinoid medicine working with global researchers.

 

 

Sophie Hayes, specialist nurse at Integro Medical Clinics

Sophie is a registered nurse with a speciality in Emergency and Acute Medicine. She has worked in A&E and nursing intensive care Covid 19 patients. She is released from her role as the only specialist cannabis practise nurse in the country, at Integro Medical Cannabis Clinic, where she now works full time, to work in intensive care once a month because of her love of her profession and the NHS.

Since 2014 Sophie has worked with cannabis patient advocacy organisations planning and working on campaigns and community events and taking delegations of patients to give testimony at parliament. In 2019 she co-founded and launched the Nurse’s Arm of CPASS (Cannabis Patient Advocacy and Support Services) at the Royal College of Nursing, of which she is now clinical lead.

 

Jade Proudman, founder & CEO, Savage Cabbage

Since founding the company in 2016, Jade has worked tirelessly as an industry advocate across the UK and Europe to raise awareness and understanding, to educate and to support patients and customers from over 50 countries around the world. The company is the official distributor of Charlotte’s Web in Europe and the UK, the world’s most trusted hemp extract.

As a patient herself, with a multitude of health problems, Jade’s life was transformed by Charlotte’s Web hemp products, which allowed her to drop all prescription medicines within 30 days. Since then, she has set out on a mission to support others on similar journeys through Savage Cabbage. Jade also possesses a Masters Degree in Education and Pedagogy, while also having had a 15-year-career in social care, driven by her desire to support and improve the standards of care to those most vulnerable.

 

Mary Biles, writer

Mary’s introduction to the medicinal properties of cannabis began with the terminal diagnosis of pancreatic cancer of a friend’s mother who had been given cannabis oil in the last few months of her life, allowing her to die with dignity. As a writer, she knew the power of words and swore to her friend to do something about the utter injustice whereby millions of people around the world are denied access to the healing potential of the cannabis plant.

Since then Mary’s life has been dedicated to educating the world about cannabis, CBD and the endocannabinoid system. For the last two years, she’s been a regular contributing writer for one of the most respected sources of cannabis education, Project CBD , as well as chief editor at CPASS (Cannabis Patient Advocacy and Support Services).

In 2020, Mary published ‘The CBD Book: The Essential Guide to CBD Oil’ (Harper Collins), from which she got the inspiration to start her podcast ‘Cannabis Voices’.

 

Alicia Maher, campaigner & cannabis law expert

Alicia is currently undertaking a PhD in Law in the regulation of cannabis for medical purposes in Ireland. She has suffered from chronic pain since 2006 after complications from surgery and by 2018, she was taking 30 opioids a day. As a last resort she decided to try cannabis in 2018 and has since come off all pain medication and uses cannabis exclusively to manage her pain.

In September 2019, Alicia held a medical cannabis symposium at the University of Limerick to highlight the issues faced due to the lack of access to medicinal cannabis in Ireland. She continues to campaign for the Medical Cannabis Access Programme to be broadened to include other conditions where there is evidence to suggest cannabis is beneficial, and for the cost to be reimbursed under the relevant schemes in Ireland.

 

Lorenza Romanese, managing director, European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA)

Based in EIHA’s Brussels office, Lorenza is a veteran policy advisor and communication manager at the European level. She has led EIHA’s efforts in Brussels since February 2019, having worked with a number of MEPs to propose reforms affecting hemp in the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy.

EIHA represents the common interests of hemp farmers, producers and traders working with hemp fibres, shives, seeds, leaves and cannabinoids. Our main task is to serve, protect and represent the hemp sector in the EU and international policymaking. It recently crowdfunded to launch the largest study into the toxicological impacts of humans ingesting trace levels of THC.

Lorenza previously advised interests in the oil and gas sector and led the European Association of independent Winegrowers.

 

 

 

 

Dr Julie Moltke, researcher & medical cannabis prescriber

Dr Julie Moltke is a medical doctor with a focus on mental health, stress management, and the medicinal cannabis industry. She is the author of ‘A Quick Guide to CBD’ and the founder and former editor of the London-based health, wellness, and cannabis science publication, Getthedose, as well as The Holistic Medicine Podcast.

Julie is a peer-reviewed clinical researcher and industry consultant with a focus on medicinal cannabis and holistic health. Dr Julie Moltke prescribes medicinal cannabis at Clinic Horsted in Denmark, and she is on the advisory board of The Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, The Primary Care Cannabis Network, and the patient organisation CPASS, among others.

 

 

 

 

Nicole Lonergan, founder, Cork Cannabis Activist Network

Nicole founded Cork Cannabis Activist Network in 2016 to raise awareness about the benefits of cannabis after it helped her to overcome depression and manage her anxiety. She now advocates sensible drug policy as well as access to safe, legal cannabis for medical & wellness purposes, and responsible adult-use in Ireland.

“Being vocal about cannabis is important to me as it has helped me to change my perspective not only on life, but also on the illegality of all drugs,” she said.

“Allowing an illegal market to continue controlling this highly sought after and beneficial commodity is senseless and has harmed so many people in our society for generations. I am proud of the work I am doing, and of the platforms I have created to speak up about cannabis because it’s the right thing to do. I hope to continue inspiring other people to do the same.”

 

Siouxie & Nina, founders, Women of Weed UK

Siouxie and Nina started Women of Weed with the intention to create a safe space for women to be able to connect through their relationship with cannabis. They have managed to create a huge support network which has been used to distribute donations and enabled women to connect with each other so that they do not feel so alone and isolated anymore due to being cannabis consumers.

The space they have created is as safe, friendly and approachable as possible to allow women to ask whatever questions they have in mind. They now plan to expand and ensure men understand that they are welcome to join the conversation too, in order to break the walls between consumers.

 

 

 

Dr Callie Seaman, cannabis scientist

Dr Callie Seaman is a veteran of the hydroponic industry and became passionate about medicinal cannabis when she was first diagnosed with epilepsy over 20 years. In 2018 she joined the United Patient Alliance and went on to help educate others about cannabis, speaking at events such as the CMC research synopsis in 2019. In the summer of 2019, Callie became one of the scientific co-curators of a pilet program at Cambridge University, CANNTalks and is now on the advisory board for patient advocacy group CPASS.

Callie is also an experienced cannabis scientist, having first studied for a degree in Biomedical Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University, during her PhD she became a founding director of Aqua Laboratories Limited – a formulator and producer of specialist hydroponic nutrients. She has published numerous scientific articles, book chapters and peer review scientific papers.

 

 

Dr Mala Mawkin, head of market development, Cellen

Dr Mala Mawkin MBBS BSc was a finalist in the Women of the Future awards 2019, listed on Forbes 30 under 30 Europe 2018 and was one of Vogue’s 10 Rising Female Stars in 2018.

Currently head of market Development at Cellen, she is particularly interested in the use of Medical Cannabis for managing patients with unmet clinical needs. Mala is a co-founder of the Women in Medical Cannabis Leadership in UK networking group.

Digital Medicine Innovation Lead at Imperial College London, she hosts the Digital Health Podcast for the Royal Society of Medicine.

Previously, she was a doctor in the NHS and has worked at institutions such as European Space Agency, Malawi’s e-health programme, as well as Harvard & Boston Children’s Hospital’s Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator. She sits on the advisory board for PLEA (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) and CPASS.

 

Sophie Thompson, communications professional, Aurora Healthcare

Sophie is a strategic communications professional at Aurora Healthcare Communications, with experience working across a range of therapy areas to ensure patient access to innovation. Her passion for making a difference to people’s lives is what drove her to explore how communications could address key challenges in medicinal cannabis.

Sophie co-founded the Women Medicinal Cannabis Leadership UK group with an aim to foster collaboration and leverage the combined expertise of the group to address these challenges.

 

 

 

 

Abby Hughes, chair of PLEA (Patient-Led Engagement for Access)

Proficient in curating change culture and service transformation, Abby is an experienced NHS operations lead dedicated to advocating for patients.

Transferring her expertise, Abby is a patient access consultant for Drug Science’s Project Twenty21, Europe’s largest medicinal cannabis registry evidencing safety and efficacy.

A co-founder of PlantEd Collective, she is interested in the integration of evidence-based plant medicine within mainstream healthcare, particularly in the areas of chronic pain and mental health.

A committed volunteer in the medicinal cannabis sector for over five years, Abby represents PLEA as chair and outreach director.

 

Lucy Stafford, advocacy lead, PLEA (Patient-Led Engagement for Access)

Having spent most of her teenage years in severe pain, dependent on opiates and a feeding tube, discovering medical cannabis has transformed Lucy’s health and quality of life.

Lucy is a patient access consultant for Project Twenty21, and is passionate about working towards a healthcare system that integrates the use of medical cannabis in the UK.

Currently studying a STEM degree, she aims to study cannabinoid science in future.

In 2017, Lucy was awarded Young Person of the Year in Cambridgeshire for her work supporting young people in hospital.

 

 

Dr Anne Katrin-Schlag, head of research, Drug Science

DrAnne Katrin Schlag is a Chartered Psychologist and Head of Research at Drug Science. She completed her PhD in Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, before working as Lecturer at King’s College London where she developed her expertise across the spectrum of science and policy making, risk perception, risk management and risk communication.

Within her role at Drug Science, she leads the research for the Medical Cannabis Working Group, focusing on controversies surrounding medical cannabis, the improvement of patient access, and the continued development of education and stakeholder communication about medical cannabis. Dr Schlag is currently working on progressing the scientific evidence base of medical cannabis to include Patient-Reported Outcomes, observational studies (such as T21) and the application of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis to assess the benefits and safety of medical cannabis.

 

 

Sophie Gamwell, head of operations, LYPHE Group

Originally from Australia, Sophie was a nurse in emergency medicine and intensive care where she saw the impact of the opioid crisis first hand, before taking a career break and moving to New York. She then worked in tech start-ups before joining LYPHE Group as head of operations in 2019. With over 60 percent of the UK market, Sophie has built and run the busiest medical cannabis clinic in the UK from a standing start, to support more than 2,500 patients since January 2020.

 

 

 

Dr Rebecca Moore, psychiatrist, The Medical Cannabis Clinics

 

A psychiatrist specialising in trauma, PTSD, anxiety and mood disorders, five years ago Rebecca became aware of how cannabis was being used to treat patients with PTSD. She won a Winston Churchill fellowship to travel to the US to see the work being done with veterans.

In 2019 she left the NHS and has been with the Medical Cannabis Clinics, the UK’s largest network of prescribing doctors, since day one. Rebecca is incredibly interwoven in the industry and has supported hundreds of cannabis patients, including as a prescriber on Project Twenty21. With over 20 years of clinical experience working with women during pregnancy and the postpartum period, she is passionate about supporting women’s wellness and specialises in working with women with depression, anxiety, birth trauma or PTSD, OCD and psychosis.

 

Carly Barton, founder Carly’s Amnesty & Cancard

Carly was the first person in the UK to receive a prescription for cannabis privately since the law change in 2018. Leading her own Amnesty, Carly is working with government organisations in the hope of converting this to an NHS prescription, setting precedent for other patients.

Having to give up her role Lecturing in the Arts, she discovered that cannabis was more effective than opioids in treating her fibromyalgia and post-stroke neuropathy. Founder of Cancard, Carly has worked with the help of doctors to design an initiative backed by senior representatives of the Police Federation and made for patients. She is also a contributing member to the Global Medical Cannabis Council and member of PLEA’s advisory board.

 

Rebekah Hall, CEO, South West Brands

Coming from 10 years in investment banking, Rebekah Hall took the leap to set up a health and wellbeing consumer business, with no previous experience in the industry. Botanic Lab went on to bring the first charcoal drink to the UK, before becoming the first brand in Europe to launch a CBD drink.

With her all-female management team Rebekah is now leading South West Brands (SWB), the first multi-brand consumer goods group developed specifically for the CBD industry, in its mission to build scaled cannabis brands across multiple segments of the market. The firm recently raised £1 million in capital to launch, but its sights are set much higher.

 

Valentina Milanova, founder, Daye

After having her first painful period at nine years old, Valentina spent her free time researching papers initially on female health conditions like PCOS and endometriosis. She came across industrial hemp and how the plant’s fibres were more absorbent than cotton, and the flower extract had analgesic properties. This provoked Valentina’s eureka moment and after years of clinical research, fundraising and dedication, Daye was founded. The company went on to create the world’s first clinically validated CBD tampon.

The Bulgarian 25-year-old managed to secure backing from A-list venture firms, recruit top talent, and launch her company’s first product to market in less than 12 months. Valentina aims to bridge the gender gap in medical research, raise the standards in female health products and service and normalise the conversation on female health.

 

 

Rachel Mason, founder, Our Remedy

Rachel Mason the founder and CEO of Our Remedy, an award-winning wellness brand offering sustainably packaged natural remedies for sleep, periods and anxiety. It was founded to help other women after Rachel experienced IVF, shortly followed by being diagnosed with Ovarian cancer and undergoing a hysterectomy.

Led by a team of women, the brand hopes to provide support and hope for women experiencing debilitating symptoms associated with their menstrual cycle and beyond. The range is totally vegan and eco-friendly, using soy inks, biodegradable shipping bags and recycled card boxes.

 

Melissa Lopes, director and co-founder, Green Active CBD

Melissa co-founded Green Active to spend her days providing life-changing products to positively impact people’s lives. She runs the company as an extension of who she is as a person, ensuring that all of the brands’ day-to-day activities as a business serve a greater good and contribute to the wider community.

The brand is actively supporting Murray Gray, a young boy with Doose Syndrome (a particularly serious form of childhood epilepsy) that sees it donate 100 percent of the profits generated from any sale that is made with the code FORMURRAY to help pay for Murray’s life changing medicinal cannabis prescription.

 

Amelia Baerlein, co-founder & CEO, Apothem Labs

Amelia co-founded plant-based wellness brand, APOTHEM in October 2019, as one of the first CBD brands in the UK to focus on a fully transparent supply chain, rigorous independent testing and a one hundred percent commitment to compliance. It paid off as the brand launched in Harvey Nichols and can also be found in a number of luxury and independent retailers including Cult Beauty, Four Seasons, Soho Home and Beast.

Amelia is committed to empowering women in business and encouraging others to channel their entrepreneurial spirit. She is also passionate about supporting positive mental health and last year the brand partnered with suicide prevention charity CALM to run a successful awareness and fundraising campaign.

Leah Remfry-Peploe, co-founder, Ohne

Ohne is the community-first brand reshaping the way people experience their menstrual cycles.

The company was established by Leah and Nikki, best friends from their university days, who felt a frustration at the archaic menstrual health industry and limited offering. Whilst they wanted to offer organic and biodegradable tampons and pads (unlike the mainstream offering), Leah also suffered with painful cramps and was looking for a natural solution. Their Holy Cramp CBD oil is the UK’s first ever pro-period CBD oil, meaning it was created with a woman’s cycle in mind.

 

Lorraine Clark & Samantha Day, co-founders, Hapi Hemp

Lorraine and Samantha, two mums who made friends at the school gates have both battled various health issues over the years. When Samantha found that CBD helped lift the “dark cloud” hovering over her after suffering breast cancer in 2017, she recommended it to her friend who had been struggling with her mental health.

Lorraine, who had suffered for years with hormonal imbalance which worsened after having children, found CBD made her life more manageable. By 2018 the pair were such converts that they joined forces to launch Hapi Hemp at their kitchen table in a mission to help other people benefit from CBD.

 

Michelle Rust, founder, Potyque

Michelle is a self-employed management consultant and mum of two teenagers. Having worked in healthcare for her entire career and in the late 90’s spent time within the fields of psychiatry and women’s health, she knew when she became menopausal herself that HRT wasn’t for her.

The consequences of not taking anything meant being faced with mood swings, weight gain, hot flushes, sleep disruption and being completely out of balance. Upon researching the many possible health benefits of CBD, it became clear that this could not only help her symptoms, but also thousands if not millions of women. Disappointed with the lack of reliable options on the market, Michelle created a premium brand of natural CBD using only the finest extraction processes, a brand based on honesty and integrity.

 

 

Join the movement and share your #ChoosetoChallenge #IWD2021 with us on Twitter @CannabisHNews & Instagram @cannabishealthmag

Advocacy

Fair Trials and Last Prisoner Project seek to launch global cannabis justice project

Fair Trials’ Global CEO Norman L. Reimer to discuss the project at Cannabis Europa Conference in London on June 29.

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A new initiative from Fair Trials and the Last Prisoner Project aims to redress the harm caused by cannabis prohibition and to secure relief for those in prison for cannabis-related convictions.

The criminal justice reform NGO, Fair Trials hopes that the industry will support its work in countries across the globe where cannabis laws are being liberalised. Through collaboration with local partners in appropriate jurisdictions, the Fair Trials project will identify people in need of legal assistance, and recruit, train and match volunteer lawyers to take on their cases.

Fair Trials has enlisted the help of the Last Prisoner Project, a coalition of cannabis industry leaders, executives and artists dedicated to bringing restorative justice to the cannabis sector.

More and more jurisdictions are allowing adults to use and distribute medical and recreational cannabis. But after decades of prohibition, countless people remain behind bars or continue to suffer the collateral consequences of a cannabis conviction.

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“The injustice of cannabis prohibition has resulted in millions of people worldwide serving time in prison or being saddled with a cannabis conviction, which brings with it a lifetime of harmful consequences, ranging from education and employment opportunities to immigration status and parental rights,” said Fair Trials Global CEO, Norman L Reimer.

“Of course, these harmful effects of prohibition not only impact the individuals charged, but also their families and communities. And those effects have been borne disproportionately by minorities, communities of colour, and the socio-economically disadvantaged. Legalising cannabis alone does not equal justice. Together, we must address the ongoing harms of past prohibition and leave no cannabis prisoner behind.”

The project will be modelled on the US Cannabis Justice Initiative, a collaborative effort between the cannabis industry and volunteer lawyers in the United States. When Norman Reimer was the Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), he partnered with the Last Prisoner Project to establish the initiative.

“Key to the success of the initiative has been generous donations from legal cannabis companies and consumers nationwide,” said Last Prisoner Project Co-Founder Steve DeAngelo. “Fair Trials, with its global reach as the world’s criminal justice watchdog, is uniquely positioned to build and house the infrastructure that’s going to be needed.”

Tomorrow (29 June), Norman Reimer will address the Cannabis Europa Conference discussing the project. Mr Reimer will be part of a panel entitled ‘Leave No Cannabis Prisoner Behind,’ and will be joined on that panel by Mary Bailey, Managing Director at the Last Prisoner Project; Dr. Laura Garius, Policy Lead at Release; and Denzel Uba, an individual impacted by criminal cannabis prohibition.

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TOWIE star Amy Childs launches CBD range in honour of Jorja Foundation

The product range sees a portion of the proceeds going to the Jorja Foundation.

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Amy Childs at the launch of her new CBD range, Jorja Botanicals

TOWIE star Amy Childs launched her new CBD range this week, with a star-studded event that shone a spotlight on the story of six-year-old Jorja Emerson.

Amy Childs was joined by former Love Islanders, Amy Hart and Cara Delahoyde-Massey, alongside her  co-stars, Frankie Essex, Tom Skinner, Carina Lepore, Saffron Lempriere and Mark Ferris, for a heart-warming event celebrating the launch of her new CBD Infused beauty range, Jorja Botanicals.

The signature collection sees a portion of the proceeds going to the Jorja Foundation, which was set up in honour of six-year-old medical cannabis patient, Jorja Emerson.

The event saw The Only Way Is Essex star Frankie Essex, break down in tears as she heard Jorja’s story. Frankie, who gave birth to twins four weeks ago, wiped her eyes when Robin Emerson, Jorja’s father, showed videos of the life-threatening seizures his daughter was suffering before they discovered medical cannabis

Love Island star, Amy Hart has since taken to Instagram to spread the word about the latest political campaign that sees Childs and Emerson petitioning to make medical cannabis more widely available on the NHS

The Jorja Botanicals range was inspired by Jorja, who was diagnosed with a rare chromosome abnormality called 1q43q44 deletion, which has a side effect of life-threatening seizures. Her illness resulted in her being admitted to intensive care on two separate occasions, where Robin was told that she may not make it.

jorja botanicals

TOWIE stars joined Amy Childs for the launch of her new CBD range

To save his daughter’s life, Emerson knew that he had to dig deep and find a treatment that would not only help Jorja but ultimately go on to help others.

At the time it was still illegal to prescribe cannabis in the UK. Emerson joined the campaign to see medical cannabis legalised in the UK in November 2018, and Jorja’s was among the first children to be legally prescribed medicinal cannabis.

In 2021 he went on to create the Jorja Foundation – a charity set up to help other families and children going through the same battles that Robin had to face.

The Jorja Foundation’s core principles are to fund special needs equipment that is not funded through the health system, fund family counselling, private appointments and tests when a second opinion is needed, as well s cannabis-based treatment for children in the UK and to continue to campaign and educate for wider NHS access in the UK for cannabis-based medications.  

Childs commented: “When I saw Robin & Jorja’s story on social media it broke my heart.

As a mum, I couldn’t imagine the pain of being told to take my child home to say goodbye to them. I love that Robin has fought for Jorja & is now helping other families with the Jorja Foundation. 

“I’m so happy that I can help the foundation by being the Creative Director of Jorja Botanicals. We have created some beautiful products for the whole family to enjoy. We will be donating a percentage of the proceeds to the foundation so that we can help as many families as possible. ”

 Emerson added: “ This is the fruition of a lot of hard work over many months and I am extremely proud to launch what is the first family brand in this category. In the coming weeks, we will also be launching a ‘parent’ focused cosmetic range in partnership with our creative director Amy Childs and our premium line of tincture oils.”

 

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South Africa launches first trial of cannabis for chronic pain

The study will test whether cannabis can replace opioids in the management of chronic pain.

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South Africa’s first cannabis trial has launched after initial results “show promise” for the treatment as a replacement for opioids.

The Pharma Ethics Observational Study is led by Biodata, a subsidiary of Labat Africa, and will test whether cannabis can replace opioids in the management of chronic pain.

The study will involve 1,000 participants who have been taking opioids for pain management for at least three months and are prepared to switch to cannabis as an alternative.

Biodata is the brainchild of Dr Shiksha Gallow, a cannabis clinician and the principal investigator in the trial which took over 18 months to get official clearance.

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Dr Gallow said the trial is set to be ground-breaking as South Africa’s first real-world study of medical cannabis. Researchers predict that it will provide much-needed insight into the link between cannabis genetics and patient outcomes.

Dr Gallow told Cannabiz Africa: “We are currently recruiting patients, and data-capturing all the questionnaires and feedback from the patients for the live Study. It has been fairly slow. However, more options have been introduced, as suggested by the patients in the pilot study.

“The pilot results of the study were very promising, as it showed 98 per cent of the patients have some sort of pain relief from the cannabis.

“We were able to wean these patients off their opioid treatment. In the pilot group of patients below the age of 55, it was shown this group preferred to smoke cannabis and patients older than 55 years preferred oil. The patients who smoked the cannabis had relief almost immediately, while the oil took some time to alleviate their pain.”

“Once we reach the sample size required and all of the relevant data has been collated, the results of the study will be published. We have currently renewed this study for another year, due to the initial slow uptake of research participants.”

Patients can apply to be research participants through the Biodata website.

Labat is expanding its footprint over the next few months with the introduction of CannAfrica kiosks in major shopping malls.

The company believes these will be the “ideal locations for physical sign-up points for the study”.

Labat said the kiosks will also serve as Biodata dispensaries and is engaging with a number of vape stores to do the same, although these would have to be subject to South African Health Products Regulatory Authority’s pharma-ethics requirements.

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