Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘cancer pain

Cannabis Embarrassment At The Home Office

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The re-scheduling of Sativex, the cannabis tincture marketed by GW Pharmaceuticals is causing huge embarrassment at the Home  Office.

Everybody’s been able to go along with the white lie up to now that Sativex is some sort of highly complex, super scientific, super medicine containing cannabinoids. True enough, GW Pharma has put millions into development and testing in order to jump through the hoops the government has demanded.  At the end of the day though, all Sativex consists of is a tincture, an alcohol extract of herbal cannabis.  It’s made simply by gently heating a blend of herbal cannabis in ethanol and then adding a little peppermint oil to taste.

An Honourable Man?

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved Sativex for the treatment of muscle spasticity in MS.  I understand that an approval for the treatment of cancer pain is expected shortly.  The problem for the Home Office is that Sativex now has to be re-scheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.   Cannabis is presently in schedule one as having no medicinal value.  The Advisory Council on the Misuse of  Drugs (ACMD) has recommended this week that Sativex be in schedule four, alongside  a variety of minor tranquilisers.  However, as the ACMD says, “it will not be appropriate to refer to “Sativex”, which is a proprietary name, in any amendment to the misuse of drugs regulations, and that a suitable description of the relevant component(s) of “Sativex” will have to be scheduled.”

This is going to be tough for James Brokenshire to face up to.  GW specifies that Sativex contains approximately equal proportions of THC and CBD but that’s not the whole truth.  It also contains as many as 400 other chemical compounds which occur naturally in the plant including at least 85 cannabinoids (nobody is exactly sure how many cannabinoids there are or their effects).  You see there’s not really any other accurate way of describing Sativex except to call it cannabis.  So how can Mr Brokenshire possibly move it to schedule four?  He endlessly repeats the propaganda that “there are no medicinal benefits in cannabis”.

Either Mr Brokenshire has to come clean and accept that his past position was incorrect or he has to promote some further deception.

I trust he will prove to be an honourable man.