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Medicinal Cannabis
House of Lords Report
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House of Lords Report
In November 1998 in the UK, the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology published a report entitled "Cannabis: The Scientific and Medical Evidence".

This report followed a lengthy investigation and includes examination of evidence submitted by medical experts in this field from around the world. It is a comprehensive analysis of the science surrounding the medical benefits of cannabis.

A summary of this report is provided below. The full text of the report can be found by clicking here.

 Report Highlights
The Lords stated that they had "Received enough anecdotal evidence to convince it that cannabis almost certainly does have genuine medical applications, especially in treating the painful muscular spasms and other symptoms of MS and in the control of other forms of pain. "

2. In its conclusions and in the press release accompanying the publication of the report, the committee makes specific reference to the urgent need for clinical trials. The report states:

"We therefore recommend that clinical trials of cannabis for the treatment of MS and chronic pain should be mounted as a matter of urgency. We warmly welcome the fact that, in the course of our inquiry, both Dr Geoffrey Guy of GW Pharmaceuticals, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's working group under Sir William Asscher, have set off down this route."

[The Asscher group has no commercial aims. Its objectives are "to produce guidelines for pilot clinical trials for cannabinoids as proof of principle of their effectiveness, and to assist those who wish to conduct such trials to successfully complete them and publish the results".]

3. The House of Lords expressed particular concern for MS sufferers and the legal dilemma they currently face in using cannabis for medical reasons.

"85,000 people in this country will continue to suffer the very unpleasant symptoms of MS. Only a small proportion of these are known to have tried cannabis illegally; but of these, significant numbers report great relief of their symptoms. We do not believe that this position is satisfactory."

"At present, people who use cannabis for medical reasons are caught in the front line of the war against drug abuse. This makes criminals of people whose intentions are innocent, it adds to the burden on enforcement agencies, and it brings the law into disrepute... Illegal medical use of cannabis is quite widespread; it is sometimes connived at and even in some cases encouraged by health professionals; and yet at present it exposes patients and in some cases their carers to all the distress of criminal proceedings, with the possibility of serious penalties. "

4. The Lords also summarise the UK Governments position as follows:

"The Government have said repeatedly that, if sufficient evidence in favour of cannabis as a medicine were produced for the Medicines Control Agency to be prepared to license it, they would amend the Misuse of Drugs Regulations so as to permit it to be prescribed."