By Emily Ledger
As the UK’s medical cannabis sector continues to slowly develop, medical cannabis clinics remain at the forefront of progress. These clinics have offered patients access to medical cannabis products that are not yet routinely available through the NHS. Now, the island of Jersey is poised to welcome its first medical cannabis clinic.
According to the medical cannabis company, Medicann, the clinic could open on the island within a few weeks. The company has revealed that it has been training a number of specialist doctors who will be able to prescribe medical cannabis products from the clinic.
Residents of Jersey are currently only able to access medical cannabis products through clinics in mainland UK. This process involves a video consultation with a specialist doctor. If the patient is approved for medical cannabis, both they and the cannabis company will have to apply for export and import licenses in order to bring the medicines into Jersey.
This process can take an extended period of time and can leave patients with large bills as they often try to import in bulk. Many people believe that the opening of a clinic on the island will drastically help with patient access to a medication that is yet to be made widely available through other channels.
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has, to date, only recommended the use of medical cannabis for an extremely limited list of conditions – namely, treatment-resistant epilepsy, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and as an add-on therapy for intractable nausea and vomiting.
However, specialist clinicians are able to prescribe cannabis products for a wider variety of conditions given there is reasonable evidence for their potential to reduce symptoms. Medical cannabis clinics often process prescriptions for chronic pain patients. Chronic pain is a condition that is notoriously difficult to treat, however, current research and anecdotal evidence have supported the exploration of medical cannabis as a treatment option.
Medicann has been training a number of doctors in Jersey to become pain specialists who will be able to prescribe medical cannabis to chronic patients as well as patients suffering from other conditions.