The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published research recommendations for Cannabis-based medicinal products for medicinal use (CBPMs).
The guidance includes key recommendations for future research in five areas, including pain, epilepsy and spasticity.
It also recommends that CBPMs be investigated as an additional treatment for chemotherapy-induced intractable nausea and vomiting.
1. Chronic pain
NICE created an economic model comparing the benefits of CBPMs for chronic pain against the potential costs.
The report reads:
“In all cases, the potential benefits offered were small compared with the high and ongoing costs, and the products were not an effective use of NHS resources.
“The committee recommended that CBD should not be offered unless as a part of a clinical trial.”
However, the committee believes that research into CBD to treat fibromyalgia or treatment-resistant neuropathic pain in adults is needed.
2. Severe treatment-resistant epilepsy
Epidyolex is the only CBPM available for epilepsy, specifically for Dravet and Lennox-Gastraut syndromes.
The drug has now been approved for use by the NHS.
However, NICE believes that evidence supporting CBPMs for this type of epilepsy is limited.
“The committee agreed that more evidence is needed on the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicinal products in severe treatment-resistant epilepsy and made a research recommendation to inform future practice.”
The report also states:
“[The committee] agreed that they should not make a recommendation against the use of cannabis-based medicinal products as this would restrict further research in this area and would prevent people who are currently apparently benefiting from continuing with their treatment.”
THC:CBD spray Sativex has proven effective in treating spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis, the report says.
The benefits were deemed to outweigh the cost and following this report, Sativex has been approved for use by the NHS in England.
The NICE research recommendations were published one week after Drug Science announced Project Twenty21 – Europe’s largest medical cannabis study.