Frequently Asked Questions
Medical Cannabis Information
Prescribing of medical cannabis within the UK was made legal as of 1 November 2018 provided it is prescribed by a medical specialist who has taken into account the current evidence and guidelines and your particular situation.
There is a significant amount of historical, ethnopharmacological and present-day anecdotal information about the benefits of using cannabis to treat chronic pain conditions. Most of this information comes from people self-medicating by smoking cannabis flowers, vaporising cannabis extracts and concentrates, and ingesting cannabis tinctures and edibles. Some two dozen Randomised Controlled Trials (RCTs) have examined the efficacy of CBD, THC and CBD+THC, in pure form and as semi-purified cannabis extracts for the treatment of cancer-related, neuropathic, musculoskeletal, visceral and widespread pain, and some studies found evidence for significant therapeutic effect for THC and THC+CBD, while others have not. Further research is needed to clarify the clinical efficacy of cannabis, and the effectiveness of purified versus semi/purified cannabis preparations and whole cannabis flower in pain management.
It is unlikely that cannabis alone would be beneficial in managing your pain condition but using it with other standard of care pain management could provide further relief and may help you reduce side effects from the standard of care treatment.
Our scientists and doctors have selected what they believe to be the most likely cannabis formulation (from years of research and review of previous studies) that could be beneficial in managing your pain situation.
Medicinal cannabis is generally well tolerated by the majority of patients, however, like all medications, it can sometimes produce unwanted side effects. The clinic adopts a stepwise process, where all patients are started on the lowest dose of medicinal cannabis. After a month, and if no adverse events occur, the dose is increased. This dosing regimen adheres to the accepted advice that by slowly increasing the dose, the chance of developing an unwanted side effect is greatly reduced.
Most side effects associated with cannabis are mild to moderate in severity and serious adverse reactions are very rare. When an adverse event occurs either the medicinal cannabis should be ceased, or the dose lowered.
Reported side effects include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Drowsiness and lethargy
- Loss of balance
- Memory loss
- Gastrointestinal effects such as nausea or diarrhoea
- Dry mouth
- Anxiety (reported in THC only formulations)
- Psychosis (reported in THC only formulations)
Medical cannabis can be addictive in susceptible individuals with long term use. We have taken a number of key initiatives to minimise the incidence of addictive behaviour. These include:
- Using low starting doses
- Use of a medicinal cannabis product with low to medium levels of THC (8%)
- Use of a medicinal cannabis product with balanced levels of THC (8% w/w) and CBD (8% w/w)
- Monitor and restrict the quantity of cannabis consumed to avoid excessive consumption
The NHS believes that there is insufficient data at the moment to prescribe cannabis for chronic pain. We hope in the future to be able to conduct a study to give the highest chance, if successful, of our cannabis formulation becoming reimbursable by the NHS.
Please speak with your insurance company to confirm whether your plan will cover the fees of the clinic and the medicines.
The consultant will ensure that they are talking to the correct person by reference to the passport photo previously provided to the clinic. The consultant will discuss with you your NHS information that you have previously supplied to us and will give you details of the tests you have undertaken. The consultant will explain the medication we use and how this should be taken, doses and how you will receive the medications. The consultant will discuss the consent forms you have already reviewed prior to the appointment and if you are in agreement the consultant will witness you signing the consent form.
The consultant will then prepare a prescription for your medicine and send that to our pharmacy who will arrange for the medicine to be sent to your home.
The consultant may also discuss with you the potential to enter into the clinical trial being conducted at the clinic.
The consultant will advise you more particularly on this matter during your consultation but medical cannabis is meant to be given alongside your existing pain medication and therefore you should not need to stop taking your existing pain medication.
You cannot take any other cannabis or cannabis related products while you are being prescribed cannabis from our doctors at the clinic.