Pubdate: Sat, 05 Oct 2002
Source: Evening News (UK)
Copyright: Eastern Counties Newspapers Group Ltd,2002
Author: Jasper Copping


A Norfolk-based trial of cannabis-based medicines has produced powerful 
evidence of their painkilling potential, say scientists.

The Government has given a special license to firm GW Pharmaceuticals to 
carry out tests on a range of cannabis-based prescription medicines.

The latest research has been carried out by Dr Willy Notcutt at his pain 
clinic at the James Paget Hospital, in Gorleston.

It focused on 34 patients - with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and 
other severe conditions causing severe pain - who had not responded well to 
current medications.

When they were treated with the cannabis-based medication, 28 said it had 
reduced pain and helped them sleep better.

Each patient was treated with three different types of medication, 
containing different levels of the active ingredients of cannabis.

All out-performed a dummy medication.

Dr Notcutt said: "Patients in this trial are suffering from severe pain - 
it dominates their lives.

"Given the previously intractable nature of their pain symptom,s. the 
improvements provided by cannabis-based medicines are all the more remarkable.

"Many of those with chronic pain also suffer from a poor quality of sleep, 
which - over time - can have profoundly negative effects on them and their 

The trial is on pilot scale and more extensive research is needed before 
cannabis-based medications are made widely available.

But Dr Geoffrey Guy, GW executive chairman, said: "We are delighted with 
the results of this study in patients with severe pain.

"The data shows improvements with all three of our cannabis-based medicines 
and we therefore believe that there will be a market for all three 
medicines in pain treatment in due course."

The Medicinal Cannabis Research Foundation (MCRF) welcomes the results.

Its lead trustee Lord Rea said: "We are encouraged that patients in this 
study have gained significant benefit and that the medicines appear to be 
well tolerated."
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