The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC), the London-based industry advisory body launched in December 2018, has set out its first work plan for 2019 which will include reports on pain, epilepsy and CBD Policy.

The reports, authored by academics and senior policy advisers, will be key elements of the CMC’s framing of the medicinal cannabis implementation policy debate in the UK.

Congruent with the Centre’s strategic engagement with the Department of Health and Social Care, Home Office and associated statutory bodies, the work plan includes a suite of new public research reports, member-only policy “white papers” and a programme of public and private events.

As well as submitting written evidence to the new House of Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee Medical Cannabis Inquiry and the NICE Final Scope for Guidelines several key projects have been instigated:

Condition Reports (Pain and Epilepsy)

In Q1 of 2019, the CMC will undertake two new research projects on the use of Cannabis Based Medicinal Products (CBMPs) in chronic pain and epilepsy in the UK – both to be published in June. Each is led by leading cannabinoid scientist Dr Saoirse O’Sullivan. The first will generate a detailed report examining the science behind CBMPs, future potential for use of CBMPs in pain within the UK, the legislative and regulatory context, and make recommendations. Both reports will consider why, unlike in other jurisdictions where use in pain and epilepsy is permitted, in the UK this is not so, what would have to occur to change this, and how the CMC might support researchers, research funding authorities, producers, and regulators to permit use of CBMPs for pain and epilepsy within the UK.

CBD Policy Report

In Q1 2019, the CMC is undertaking a new research project on cannabidiol (CBD)

in the UK to be published in March. This project, led by Policy Lead Blair Gibbs, will generate a detailed policy report examining the state of the CBD market in the UK, the political and regulatory context, and make recommendations. The objective for this project is to inform policy-makers, the media and the public about the present context for CBD, and to outline how the UK can ensure those who seek the health benefits of cannabidiol are better protected. In so doing, the CMC aims to set out an approach that, if adopted in the UK, would likely influence other regimes globally.

Engaging The UK Prescribing Community (Members Only)

In March 2019 the CMC publishes a “white paper” and hosts a webinar for members on how to engage with the UK prescribing community. Clinicians across the UK currently hold negative attitudes because of academic, institutional and cultural factors. A lack of randomised control trials (RCTs) supporting the clinical use of CBMPs prevents institutional endorsement. Existing evidence is either animal-based, preclinical, anecdotal, poorly-structured or conducted in foreign industries and institutions which is not sufficient for change in the UK market. UK clinicians are also sceptical about trials conducted overseas and trials funded exclusively by industry, but look more favourably at trials conducted “organically” by academic institutions being funded by government grants such as the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). This report will fully demonstrate mechanisms required to overcome these hurdles, exploring the actions that members may take to effectively penetrate the clinical environment, while safely navigating the legislative framework.

Developing the CBMP market through UK research (Members Only)

The CMC has been working with the National Institute for Health Research and UK universities to produce a “white paper” and members webinar in March on developing the market for CBMPs through UK-originated research. CMC is now adopting a role in convening partners to small-scale pilot trials, potentially funded by producers or consortia of them, and conducted according to a protocol that deals with these issues and is appropriate for achieving future licensing.

Annual Lecture and Annual Policy Conference

The CMC is inaugurating both an annual lecture and policy conference. The CMC will also initiate an Annual Lecture to be delivered each year by a globally-distinguished clinician or scientist on a theme related to medicinal cannabis. The inaugural lecture will be delivered on  April 4, 2019, by Professor Iain McGregor, the Academic Director of the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, Sydney University, Australia, and an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow. He will share his insights from Australia and around the world, and give his expert opinion on the strategic direction of medicinal cannabis in the UK.

The first UK Medicinal Cannabis Summit will take place on June 27, 2019, and will be the first opportunity for CMC members to meet with the key influencers in government, public policy and medical world.

CMC founder Paul Birch said: “In the aftermath of the publication of our widely acclaimed report ‘UK Medical Cannabis: A Blueprint’ in December 2018 this new work plan moves us forward into the next phase of our strategy. We exist to making the UK the safest, most innovative, and best regulated medical cannabis market anywhere in the world. Every project we green light must be aligned with this goal. The team we have assembled and the members we have secured ensure that we are uniquely placed to provide stewardship and leadership for the sector in the UK, no one else is operating at the interface of politics, regulation, medicine, science and media.”


Further information

Iain Macauley

Press Officer

The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis


+44 (0)7788 978800