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Clinical Trials

Developments in the progress of clinical trials of cannabinoids.

GW pharmaceuticals have harvested 20,000 cannabis plants which are legally grown under Home Office licenses at a 'secret location' in the south of England. See photo of the harvest. They are developing cannabis-based medicine extracts which are based on an extract of whole plant material.

The company's aim is to develop non-smoked medicines which are inhaled by patients using a vaporizer which, when activated, releases a metered dose of medicine. The device will allow patients to benefit from the rapid relief from inhalation whilst avoiding the inhalation of carcinogens in cannabis smoke.

GW are currently in negotiation with the Canadian Ministry of Health to provide cannabinoid preparations for clinical trials.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society are to undertake two clinical trials of cannabinoids, involving placebo, synthetic THC and natural extracts, using strict research protocols in order to secure World Health Organisation approval should the trials produce positive results. Dr Anita Holdcroft will be conducting trials on pain relief in cancer patients and following surgery. Dr John Zajicek will be coordinating trials of efficacy for muscle spasms in around 100 MS patients, with the support of the MS Society.

GW Pharmaceuticals also proposes its own trials in around 2000 MS patients.

GW is part of the UK Medicinal Cannabis Project which has just launched a website where patients wishing to register their interest in taking part in one of GW's clinical trials can complete a patient questionnaire online (the questionnaire is located in the "Patients" section of their website.) . All information given is held medically in confidence and will only be disclosed with your express permission. Alternatively you can complete a paper version of the questionnaire and the website gives details of how to have a copy posted to you.

Whilst GW hope to include as many patients as possible in their trials they are unable to guarantee at this time that any individual patient will be included in their programme. In the event that you are selected for a trial your participation must be supported by your doctor's consent and referral. GW will therefore need to contact your doctor which is why the questionnaire asks for both your permission to contact your doctor and for your doctor's contact details.

If you are a doctor and would like to tell GW about your experiences with patients and the medicinal use of cannabis or are interested in becoming involved in running a clinical trial please complete the online Physician Questionnaire located in the "Physician" section of the UK Medicinal Cannabis Project's website.


Multiple Sclerosis Society

25 Effie Road, London

SW6 lEE Tel: (0171) 610 7171

Fax: (0171) 736 9861

website - www.mssociety.org.uk

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

1 Lambeth High Street,

London SE17JN

Tel 0171-735-9141

website - www.rpsgb.org.uk

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