Medical Pot Spray Shows 80 Percent Success Rate in Clinical Trials

Nearly 80 percent of multiple sclerosis and spinal cord patients enrolled in British research trials obtained clinical benefit from marijuana extracts, according to data presented by a London researcher during this year’s annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM).
“Somehow a million years of evolution between cannabis and humans have come up with an amazing medicine,” announced keynote speaker Geoffrey Guy, Chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals, a London company licensed to cultivate and test medical marijuana in clinical trials. The company is currently evaluating several cannabis-based medicinal extracts in double blind, placebo controlled randomized trials to determine each strain’s quality, safety and efficacy. Trial subjects self-administer the extracts via a sublingual spray.
According to Guy, 41 of the 53 patients enrolled in GW’s most recent trials sustained “clinically significant therapeutic benefit” from cannabis – including relief from pain, spasticity, bladder-related symptoms and tremor, as well as a 50 percent average reduction in their use of opiates. Guy called the preliminary results “very encouraging,” noting that many of those who attained relief suffer from “conditions previously considered intractable.”
Guy said that all 41 patients have elected to continue using medicinal cannabis extracts long-term. Recently, United Kingdom’s Medicines Control Agency (MCA), the equivalent of the United States’ FDA, affirmed the safety of GW’s extracts and extended the duration for which they can provide them to patients from 12 to 24 months.
GW is scheduled this fall to begin a series of large-scale Phase III trials in United Kingdom and Canada on the efficacy of cannabinoids in the treatment of chronic pain. The company does not currently have trials pending in the US.
In addition to Guy, other medi-pot speakers at this year’s AAPM conference included Ethan Russo, editor of The Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, Patients Out of Time co-founder Mary Lynn Mathre, Common Sense for Drug Police (CSDP) Executive Director Kevin Zeese, and Institute of Medicine researcher Janet Joy, co-author of the 1999 report Marijuana As Medicine: Assessing the Science Base.
For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Publications Director, at (202) 483-5500.