GP urges caution over benefits of using cannabis-derived medication for pain relief - The Leamington Observer

GP urges caution over benefits of using cannabis-derived medication for pain relief

Leamington Editorial 10th May, 2019   0

A GP from Leamington is urging caution over the long-term benefits of using cannabis-derived medication for pain relief.

CBD is naturally found in the cannabis plant and is non-hallucinogenic and believed to help with the relief of pain.

Its usage has been heavily publicised in recent years and CBD products can be found in many high street retailers.

But Dr Nick Tait, of TFJ Private GP Services, said research was still in its infancy and it would take years before it was known whether the compound has lasting medicinal value.

He said: “CBD is very topical at the moment and, without bursting anyone’s bubble, it is about keeping it in context.

“There is loose evidence which suggests it helps with pain. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia are hard to manage and it could be another resource that can help some people.

“Centuries ago, people thought if you chewed comfrey or put it on bones, it helped you heal better. This has since been shown to be true by research, which identified the active ingredient.

“With CBD, it is either going to be something we refine after we identify the active ingredient or something which will just drop off and will only be recognised as a placebo.

“GPs are always gatekeepers for the NHS and we have a responsibility to be sensible in what we prescribe, and understand whether it is going to do good for our patients or cause harm. We have to be careful.”

The oil is legal in the UK if it contains less than 0.2 per cent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis.

In recent years cannabis has been legalised in Canada and some parts of America.

The UK government has also passed a licence allowing the use of medical cannabis for the likes of epilepsy sufferer, eight-year-old Alfie Dingley from Kenilworth.

But Alfie’s mum Hannah says not enough was being done to support families who need the drug and is calling for more prescriptions to be made available.

Writing in the British Medical Journal she said: “Cannabis medicines are not cure-alls. Alfie still has occasional clusters, but they stop within hours rather than after days on end in hospital.

“Many other children in similar situations have not been able to get these medicines despite now being legal.”

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