The UK has launched its first medical cannabis clinic, Sapphire Medical Clinic, which will offer access to medicinal cannabis for all conditions acknowledged to benefit from it such as chronic pain, migraine, fibromyalgia and palliative care.
A group of leading specialist doctors launched the London based clinic to offer the therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment pathway, that includes other conventional pharmaceutical drugs and treatments.
The team includes specialists in paediatric & adult neurology, palliative care, psychiatry, gastroenterology, acute general medicine and neuropathic pain and will replicate the multi-disciplinary approach championed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and NHS England as the safe and proper way to consider medicinal cannabis prescriptions.
The clinics will operate primarily on a second-opinion basis whereby patients can be referred by their GP or Hospital Consultant, who are able to refer patients online.
Dr Mikael Sodergren, managing director and academic lead at the clinic claims that the service will be a “lifeline for GPs who have patients presenting with conditions that they think cannabis-based products could provide relief from, but don’t have the knowledge or expertise to prescribe it themselves.”
He continued, “GPs can now be sure that their patients are being treated by world-class experts in their conditions who understand cannabis as a medicine and how it interacts with other treatments a patient might be on. As clinicians, we are glad that we can offer patients this opportunity when they may have exhausted all existing options available to them.”
The new team have also announced that they have set up the first UK national patient registry for cannabis-based products. The registry will provide crucial data as the field of medicinal cannabis evolves in the UK and will allow clinicians to base prescribing patterns on the best available evidence whilst waiting for clinical trials.