The Canadian Government is considering a proposal from GW Pharmaceuticals to investigate the uses of non-smoked marijuana as a medicine. GW, based in the UK, has established a Canadian company which would conduct clinical trials and study delivery methods other than smoking.
Dr Geoffrey Guy, Chairman of GW Pharmaceuticals said, "Health Canada has recognised the great need for marijuana-based medicines in the treatment of many different conditions and we would be delighted to be a part of its programme. We see this as an impressive and bold initiative in acknowledging and actively addressing the issue of medicinal marijuana."
The objectives of the clinical trials would be:
- to make available legal, marijuana-based medicines to Canadian patients by establishing a clinical research programme and long-term safety monitoring.
- to allow a research programme to proceed in the Canadian public's interest by replicating GW's UK programme in Canada in accordance with Canadian legal statutes, Single Convention Treaty (1961) and the domestic regulatory and ethical framework.
- to evaluate delivery methods other than smoking and to generate data on quality, safety and efficacy of a scope and standard satisfactory for peer review publication.
- to establish a pilot programme (100 patients) which can be expanded if required to a full programme, eventually leading to a licensed prescription medicine.
Dr Guy added, "There is a considerable body of evidence to suggest that marijuana may have a number of medicinal uses: for the relief of pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis; for painrelief in other neurological disorders, such as paraplegia and neuralgia; as an appetite stimulant in treating AIDS patients with wasting disease; for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy; and in the eye disease, glaucoma. But to date therehave been no controlled clinical trials in Canada. Our aim would be to establish the medical facts."