U.K. Medical Cannabis Clinical Trial has Begun.

Liz Filmer
07 Dec 2023

Although the U.K. legalised medical cannabis back in 2018, a recent report on the NHS stated that so far, no studies have been funded to help explore the efficiency of medical cannabis. 

Picking up the slack, however, U.K.-based Celadon Pharmaceuticals recently began a clinical trial featuring 5,000 patients suffering from chronic pain.

In March this year, Celadon Pharmaceuticals became the first Company in the U.K. to be granted a license by the Home Office to sell its products to private cannabis clinics that are legally allowed to prescribe cannabis at a cost.

Celadon first conducted a preliminary study on 500 patients. The findings were that cannabis did help to reduce patients’ reliance on opioids and improved sleep.

Following this preliminary trial, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the NHS Research Ethics Committee approved a larger clinical trial during the summer.

“As an approved Trial, it is believed to be the only one of its kind in the U.K. and is designed to create a data set that will support doctors’ prescriptions of cannabis-based products. The Company believes this to be a major advance in enabling much wider access for patients, ultimately leading to the opening up of the U.K. market for cannabis-based medicines.”
 a Celadon press release stated. 

More recently, in an interview with Sky News, Celadon co-founder James Short explained that his business is a pharmaceutical company before anything else and not just a cannabis company. 

“We’ve got to try and get away from the stigma. When I first got involved in the business, I was nervous to even talk about it with friends, but our job is not to get people high. It’s to give them a better quality of life.”

While there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence on the merits of medical cannabis helping patients, U.K. doctors remain hesitant due to a lack of clinical evidence, education and the undeniable stigma which remains.

As it stands, the easiest way for patients to secure a prescription is via a private cannabis clinic; however, it is costly and so still unattainable to many who need it and who are desperately trying to avoid being prescribed more generic medications such as opioids.

Hopefully, this new trial will help move the acceptance and availability of cannabis on the NHS forward and improve access for those who need it. 

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Liz Filmer