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The Cannabis Report: March News

From stories making mainstream headlines in the UK, to regulatory developments across Europe, catch up on the latest news in the medical cannabis sector with Maple Tree's monthly digest. Sign up at the bottom of the page to receive in your inbox every month.

 

Alfie makes his TV debut on This Morning

 

Hannah once again appeared on the This Morning sofa this month, this time joined by her son

Alfie Dingley. Alfie was the first person to be prescribed medical cannabis on the NHS in 2018 and unwittingly played a major part in the campaign for legalisation. He sat alongside Hannah as she discussed the benefits of medical cannabis on his epilepsy with presenters Cat Deeley and Ben Shepherd (although admittedly he was more interested in watching himself on the TV monitor!)

 

Prof Barnes weighs in on UK cannabis legalisation debate

 

Also this month, Prof Mike Barnes was quoted in an article for iNews, exploring whether the UK should follow in Germany’ footsteps and put an end to prohibition of cannabis. Prof Barnes told iNews:“In the UK we only have medical cannabis legal with effectively only private provision, as the public service, the NHS, is not prescribing – only five prescriptions in five years. I think the German legalisation may speed up the full legalisation in the UK, but frankly there will not be change any time soon as no major political party has any inclination to make it legal for recreational purposes.”

 

CIC takes on role of Secretariat for Hemp/CBD APPG

 

The Cannabis Industry Council (CIC) announced this month that it has taken on the role of Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Industrial Hemp and CBD Products. The decision was formalised at the APPG’s annual general meeting, held on 13 March in Parliament, with the CIC succeeding Tenacious Labs, which has held the role for two years.

 

Medical cannabis could be cost-effective on NHS

 

Early economic analysis of data from the UK suggests that at the right price point, cannabis-based medicines could offer a cost-effective alternative for the treatment of chronic pain, if prescribed on the NHS. The data was collected during a small three-month feasibility study for a regulatory-approved clinical trial investigating the potential of cannabis-based medicines in chronic pain.

 

Ananda signs DSA for endometriosis trial

 

Ananda Developments has signed a Drug Supply Agreement for its proprietary CBD formulation, MRX1, to be used as the ‘investigative medicinal product’ in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) into endometriosis-associated pain. The NHS-funded trial is being led by the University of Edinburgh and hopes to pave the way for wider access to cannabis-based medicines on the NHS.

Patients have their say at UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

 

Members of the IACM Patient Council, alongside other non-profit organisations, had the opportunity to represent the rights of patients seeking legal, fair and equitable access to medicinal cannabis at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs held in Vienna from 14-22 March. 

This marks a first for the IACM Patient Council, with six representatives taking part in events throughout the session, in what it described as a ‘history moment’ for cannabis activism.

 

French authorities publish details of medical cannabis programme

 

After years of delays following the launch of its medical cannabis pilot scheme in (date), the French National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) has finally provided new information on how the roll-out of the generalised medical cannabis programme will look moving forward. The body has also confirmed that cannabis flowers will not be included in its upcoming framework.

 

Portugal approves first new preparations since 2021

 

Portugal’s cannabis regulator has approved three new cannabis preparations for its medical cannabis programme, marking the first expansion since 2021.The products will be prescribed for chronic pain associated with oncological diseases, epilepsy and the treatment of severe convulsive disorders in childhood, multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and appetite stimulation in palliative care for patients undergoing oncological treatment or with AIDS.

 

Switzerland launches largest adult-use pilot study

 

Officials in Switzerland announced a seventh pilot study into the sale of legal cannabis for adult-use in the district of canton Zurich and the largest trial to date, with up to 7,500 people.  The study will run for five years and see participants permitted to access regulated cannabis products, while data is collected to examine the social and economic impacts of its use. This is the first pilot to include a comparison group, who will continue accessing cannabis illegally, the findings of which will then be evaluated in an RCT.

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