Medical cannabis patients report improvements in anxiety, pain, and sleep

Medical cannabis patients report improvements in anxiety, pain, and sleep
© iStock-Ivan-balvan

The outcomes of the first cohort of medical cannabis patients in the UK have demonstrated significant improvements in anxiety, pain, and sleep for medical cannabis patients.

Analysis of patient-reported outcome measures of patients captured in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry, published in Neuropsychopharmacology Reports, found statistically significant improvements in anxiety, pain and sleep quality scores, as well as general quality of life at one- and three-months following treatment.

The patients are amongst the first to be prescribed medical cannabis treatment in the UK since legalisation of cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) on prescription in November 2018, and the UK Medical Cannabis Registry is the first such database in the UK, set up by clinicians at Sapphire Medical Clinics.

Improving life for patients

The study analysed clinical outcomes of the first 129 patients enrolled in the Registry and found that CBMPs were well tolerated with a side effect rate of 24 per 100 patients, which compares favourably to painkillers such as morphine or codeine.

The UK Medical Cannabis Registry records patient‐reported outcome measures (PROMs), clinical effectiveness measures, and adverse event (side effect) questionnaires which are remotely administered to patients through an online web‐based platform at baseline, one month, three months, six months, and then six-monthly intervals- forming part of the Real-World Evidence platform which now includes over 2,000 patients.

Dr Simon Erridge, Head of Research and Access at Sapphire Medical, commented: “We are very pleased to see the first peer reviewed publication of outcomes of medical cannabis patients since legalisation in print, which suggests that these treatments are safe and well tolerated in this patient group. By placing data collection at the heart of our clinical processes we hope to contribute to the evidence base and thereby allow more patients to access these treatments on the NHS.”

Dr Mikael Sodergren, Managing Director and Academic Lead at Sapphire Medical, added: “It has been great to see that patients at Sapphire overwhelmingly welcome contributing to this kind of data collection which will advance our understanding of the benefits of medical cannabis treatment. The feedback that we received is that patients also really like monitoring their own response to treatment, so we are pleased to be able to enrol all our patients in the UK Medical Cannabis Registry. Whilst the findings of this study are encouraging, they have to be treated with caution given the limited scope of this initial analysis which does not have a placebo or active comparator.”

Patient Laura Drummond, who is prescribed medical cannabis for a persistent pain condition fibromyalgia, said: “I’ve been a medical cannabis patient at Sapphire Medical Clinics for over a year now and love the idea of contributing to the Registry and growing evidence which no doubt will help many others in the future. My journey with treatment has reduced my pain but, more significantly, improved my sleep and the ability to enjoy quality time with my young daughter.”

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