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Largest study of UK Medical Cannabis Patients shows association with improved health-related quality of life

The UK Medical Cannabis Registry publishes findings which show a statistically significant improvement in health-related quality of life across all indications for treatment following prescription of cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) following six months of therapy.

The international peer reviewed journal ‘Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research’ has published new data this week from The UK Medical Cannabis Registry (“The Registry”) on the largest group of patients in the UK treated with medical cannabis since the change law permitting doctors to prescribe cannabis-based medicinal products in 2018. 312 patients were included in the final analysis detailing medium-term quality of life and safety outcomes in patients prescribed Cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) by specialists at Sapphire Medical Clinics (“Sapphire Medical”).

Patient-reported outcome measures following treatment with CBMP across the largest case series of UK patients treated since legalisation found statistically significant improvements in health-related quality of life in patients at one, three, and six-months following treatment. The most common primary diagnoses were chronic pain and neuropathic pain.

Across all patients at baseline, the average anxiety score was consistent with a diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder. At follow up, the average score reduced to below clinically relevant levels. This builds on previously published data from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry which demonstrated clinically significant reduction in anxiety with a specific cohort of patients with generalised anxiety disorder. However, approximately 1 in 4 patients with a chronic illness will experience symptoms of anxiety within the previous two weeks. This suggests that in addition to condition-specific changes medical cannabis may also affect the experience of symptoms that often trouble those with chronic health problems. Adverse event incidence was 30%, with nausea being the most frequent (3.8%). In addition, patients also experienced improvements in self-reported sleep quality. Due to the study design, it was unable to definitively prove that CBMPs were the cause of the resultant change.

There were more male participants, compared to female (55% and 45% respectively) with a mean age of 45. A minority of patients (36%) used cannabis daily before treatment via Sapphire Medical. Findings from this research build upon data from Canada and New Zealand, respectively.

The Sapphire Access Scheme recently expanded to offer a further 2,000 patients’ affordable access to medical cannabis consultations. The Sapphire Access Scheme allows patients to be included for free in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry in addition to receiving access to appointments with experts in chronic conditions and medical cannabis for £50 per appointment. The Registry was the first such database in the UK and is also the largest. It has been set up by clinicians at Sapphire Medical, a multi-award-winning medical cannabis clinic, and the highest CQC-rated clinic of its kind. Medical cannabis was legalised in November 2018 and can be prescribed by specialist doctors when conventional therapy has not provided adequate symptom relief for conditions such as pain, anxiety, and multiple sclerosis.

Dr Simon Erridge, Head of Research and Access at Sapphire Medical Clinics, commented: “Real-World Evidence of patient safety and outcomes of patients prescribed medical cannabis is expanding rapidly. Whilst we now can identify condition-specific responses, understanding how all patients are responding to treatment, and considering the very wide range of conditions that includes, is important as we review holistically the safety and efficacy of this treatment.”

Find out if you are eligible for treatment with Sapphire Medical Clinics by clicking here.

The publication is available freely via open access agreements  https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/can.2021.0145