26 Jul The Definition Of A Cannabis-Derived Medicinal Product Must Include Standardised Herbal Cannabis Or Sajid Javid’s Reform Will Fail.
Bedrocan, the Netherlands government’s official producer, grows cannabis in which the cannabinoid and terpene content is standardised and consistent. It does this by very careful cultivation techniques which include clonal propagation, continuous analysis and gamma irradiation to eliminate contamination with potentially harmful microbes. Its production facility is Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified.
With the exception of Sativex, which NICE has declared as not cost effective, the Bedrocan range offers the only medicinal cannabis products which could be readily available in the UK. They are also available as oils extracted directly from the raw herbal flowers.
It’s very simple, unless Bedrocan products come within the definition of a ‘cannabis-derived medicinal product’, the very welcome reform announced today by Sajid Javid will fail and most people will have no option but to continue sourcing their medicine from the illegal market.
There is no doubt that the gold standard in safety, efficacy and self-titration is vaporised herbal cannabis of Bedrocan-standard quality. Cannabis that is ingested as oil, either sub-lingually or through the gastrointestinal system, has a substantially different pharmacology and is very difficult to titrate accurately or to deliver its beneficial effects promptly.
Bedrocan provides an immediate solution. GW Pharmaceuticals could also easily turn to providing a similar range of products. One hopes that it could also be prevailed upon to reconsider its pricing of Sativex. It is essential however that new, domestic production facilities are established quickly. Up to now the Home Office has rejected all efforts to set up such facilities, even applications from extremely reputable international businesses that already have licences elsewhere. This policy must be immediately revised.
Dame Sally Davies advised that “only cannabis or derivatives produced for medical use can be assumed to have the correct concentrations and ratios”. The ACMD agreed with this, stating that “raw cannabis (including cannabis-based preparations) of unknown composition should not be given the status of medication.” Bedrocan products fully comply with these requirements and it is essential that they are re-scheduled and made available on prescription.