In November of 2018, England announced that cannabis could be prescribed for medicinal use by specialist physicians when no other treatments proved effective. It’s prescription was purely to be decided on a case-by-case basis. While a noteworthy and important step, this approval did not mean that all patients who needed the treatment instantly had access.
Since November, only four patients have received the cannabis treatment.
However, a new medical cannabis clinic has just been opened in Manchester, which should help improve access for patients with an unmet need. It is the very first specialist cannabis clinic in the UK.
This clinic will be called The Beeches and it will be run by Doctor David McDowell. The clinical director of the clinic is Mike Barnes.
One of the individuals who has already received a cannabis prescription from Dr. McDowell is Forzana Nasir. She is a 32-year-old student who is diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a rare genetic condition which causes chronic pain.
To combat the pain and nausea from her EDS, Forzana was taking 13 medications every single day. After cannabis treatment, she is down to just three. Therefore, in addition to reduced pain, cannabis has significantly improved her quality of life. She says that her condition had practically made her bed-bound before treatment. Now, she is able to live a more normal life.
In addition to treating chronic pain, cannabis can be beneficial to patients who are suffering from serious psychiatric or neurological conditions. For those patients who have found no other treatments to be effective, this single clinic could significantly change the course of their life. Unfortunately, it’s not cheap. Patients will have to pay 200 pounds for their first visit to the doctor and then between 600 and 700 pounds each month for the cannabis prescription.
The aspiration is that in the future more clinics will open outside of Manchester to provide more patients, like those suffering from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, the relief from chronic pain that cannabis can provide.
Hopefully, in the future it will also become more affordable for patients.
You can read more about this new clinic here.