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Report recommends re-classifying cannabis for medicinal use

The report, which was launched earlier this month, recommended the UK government accept that medicinal cannabis works and has a role to play in the treatment of a range of conditions, and that it move to introduce a system that allows lawful access to the drug for medicinal use.

Speaking at the Global Medical Cannabis Summit ‘Advancements in the Age of Cannabis’ in Dublin on 14 September, Prof Mike Barnes discussed the report’s finding that there is good evidence for one or more of the cannabis products or ‘natural’ cannabis in the management of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain; spasticity; nausea and vomiting, particularly in the context of chemotherapy; and in the management of anxiety.

He also said there is moderate evidence for the use of cannabis in sleep disorders; appetite stimulation in the context of chemotherapy; fibromyalgia; PTSD; and for some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Prof Barnes added there was only some evidence for its use in managing agitation in dementia, epilepsy, bladder dysfunction and glaucoma.

The report contains no recommendation on cannabis use in the management of dystonia; Huntington’s disease; headache; brain protection in the context of traumatic brain injury; depression; obsessive compulsive disorder; gastrointestinal disorders; or cancer/tumour control. 

Regarding long-term effects of cannabis use, the report states the majority of the literature gives support for a causal hypothesis between cannabis use and psychosis, particularly if usage starts at an early age and if the individual has a genetic predisposition to psychosis. The report recommends there should be caution with regard to prescription of cannabis for such individuals. However, it states most people who use cannabis do not develop schizophrenia, and most people with schizophrenia have never used cannabis

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