Glasgow, Scotland: Doctors in Scotland's largest hospital and eight others around Britain will begin offering seriously ill patients medical marijuana.
Patients suffering from multiple sclerosis and other illnesses associated with chronic pain will be able to receive the non-synthetic medicinal marijuana extracts for the first time ever as part of an expansive Phase III trial of the drug by the London-based company, GW Pharmaceuticals. Approximately 1,000 patients are expected to participate in the trial, according to a news report in The Scotsman newspaper.
Patients in the trial will not smoke cannabis, but will instead administer the extracts sublingually. Patients will also have the option to use the synthesized oral pill form of the drug known as Dronabinol.
In previous Phase II trials performed by GW, nearly 80 percent of patients sustained "clinically significant therapeutic benefit" from medicinal cannabis extracts - including relief from pain, bladder-related symptoms and tremor, as well as a 50 percent average reduction in their use of opiates.
Speaking in May at the Second National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, GW Pharmaceuticals President Geoffrey Guy speculated that cannabis-based medicines could receive British regulatory approval by as early as fall 2003.
For more information, please contact either Paul Armentano or Keith Stroup of NORML at (202) 483-5500. Additional information on GW Pharmaceuticals clinical patient trials is available at: http://www.gwpharm.com .