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The UK Medical Cannabis Registry publishes outcomes of patients prescribed medical cannabis for generalised anxiety disorder

Clinically significant improvement in anxiety-specific outcomes with relative safety in the medium-term following prescription of cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs)

The international peer reviewed journal ‘Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology’ has today published new data from The UK Medical Cannabis Registry on the first group of anxiety patients in the UK treated with medical cannabis. 67 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.

Patient-reported outcome measures following treatment with CBMP found statistically significant improvements in health-related quality of life in patients at one, three and six months following treatment. Additionally, clinically significant improvements in self-reported anxiety according to validated questionnaires were observed. At baseline, the average anxiety score was ‘moderate to severe’. At one, three and six months this had reduced to ‘mild’. In addition, this patient group 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 (67% and 33% respectively) with a mean age of 38. Only a minority of patients (21%) had never used cannabis before. Findings from this research build upon randomised controlled trials in social anxiety disorder as well as pre-clinical studies. Moreover, this corroborates previously published findings from the UK Medical Cannabis Registry on patients with all conditions which also experienced an improvement of their generalised anxiety.

Whilst effective pharmaceutical and psychological therapies exist for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder, there is variability in response and tolerance of side effects, leaving many patients with refractory anxiety, despite best medical care. There is evidence of increasing anxiety, particularly in young people, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research into CBMPs as a therapeutic option in the management of anxiety, therefore, continues to gain interest.

These findings come at the same time as the Sapphire Access Scheme expands 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 has been set up by clinicians at Sapphire Medical Clinics, a multi-award-winning medical cannabis clinic, and the highest CQC-rated clinic of its kind. They have also published outcomes related to health-related quality of life across all conditions. 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: “Considering the rising incidence of anxiety among the general population it is important that we continue to explore novel treatments for anxiety. The UK Medical Cannabis Registry aims to provide Real-World Evidence of the outcomes and safety of patients prescribed medical cannabis. This will be increasingly important as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has introduced guidance to incorporate its use alongside randomised controlled trials in helping accelerate licensing decisions for medications.”