Report shows cannabis drug prescriptions increased almost tenfold in 2021

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According to a Publication of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), prescriptions of unauthorized medical cannabis in the private healthcare sector increased by 935% between 2020 and 2021 with 15 vendors offering unlicensed cannabis products for medical use are registered and more are being assessed.

The recent Safer Management of Controlled Medications: Annual Update 2021 report » Noted 37,634 items were prescribed between January and November 2021 by non-NHS health services, compared to 3,636 items prescribed between January and November 2020.

On the other hand, over the same period, the National Health Services (NHS) CBMPs prescribing in England was so low that data could not be reported. “The number of items prescribed in the NHS is so small that it could potentially affect patient confidentiality,” the report read.

“Authorized medicinal products for cannabis-based medicines are regularly available on the NHS”, Minister of Pharmacy Maria Caulfield said last april in response, an assessment was made of the adequacy of access to medical cannabis for eligible individuals.

“However, clinical guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence demonstrate a clear need for more evidence to support routine prescribing and funding decisions for cannabis products not licensed for use. for medical purposes”, Caulfield added. “Until this evidence base is built, prescribers will remain reluctant to prescribe and the NHS will be unable to make routine funding decisions.”

Moreover, the National Institute of Health Research confirmed – in October 2020 – that despite a call for applications, no government-funded medical cannabis trials were taking place.

“Since 2020, we have seen an 846% growth in the number of patients accessing our specialist service,” said Simon Erridge, Head of Research and Access at Sapphire Medical Clinics related to the recent surge in CBMP prescriptions.

“The prescribing of unlicensed cannabis medicines via the NHS has not seen the same growth (…) the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence published in 2019, one which did not show clinical benefit sufficient in relation to the costs associated with these drugs”, Erridge concluded. “There is also a lack of randomized controlled trials demonstrating the effectiveness of CBMPs compared to other licensed drugs.”

Photo: Courtesy of Stephen Cobb on Unsplash

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