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UK trial of medical cannabis and long covid to get underway this month

Drug Science has commented on the approval of its study, which is due to get underway this month.



UK trial of medical cannabis and long covid
An estimated 1.3m people in the UK currently suffer from long covid

A UK study, which will examine the effects of medical cannabis on long covid, is set to commence imminently.

The study, which has received approval from the UK’s NHS Research Ethics Committee (NHS REC) and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA), is due to get underway this month.

The patient study will run for five months, from February to June 2022, on 30 participants who have experienced long covid symptoms.

Patients will be enrolled following approval from their GPs, then administered daily doses of medical cannabis oil.

Fibromyalgia: A banner advert for the medical cannabis clinic

Their wellbeing will be monitored throughout the trial with data then being anonymised and analysed by researchers at Drug Science, in an effort to establish whether medical cannabis is an effective treatment for their condition.

Long covid refers to persistent or new symptoms that develop at least eight weeks following an initial Covid-19 infection. 

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), an estimated 1.3m people in the UK currently suffer from the condition and one in every 40 people with Covid-19 experiences symptoms lasting at least three months.

Common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, worsening chest discomfort, loss of concentration, chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia. 

Experts believe medical cannabis could be beneficial, as the symptoms of long covid mimic those of conditions commonly prescribed cannabis for, including fibromyalgia.

Medical cannabis is prescribed to patients living with fibromyalgia, who have failed to respond to conventional medicines, for symptoms such as chronic pain, muscle stiffness, fatigue and problems sleeping.

In a study from late 2021, it was reported that 30 per cent of patients with long covid met the diagnosis criteria for fibromyalgia. 

The trial is being carried out in association with Australian medical cannabis company Bod Australia. Participants will be administered Bod’s medicinal cannabis product, MediCabilis®.

Drug Science’s CEO, David Badcock, commented: “Our ongoing research into medical cannabis is showing that these relatively new medicines can offer a wide range of benefits to patients. We believe it’s right to investigate whether these same benefits can be extended to people who have become ill during the pandemic.

“The study will also help to further develop an evidence base about medical cannabis for GPs and prescribers. A lot of stigma and misinformation persists about these medicines, even though they have been legal for over three years. And that makes them very difficult for patients to access.”

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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