NewsHundreds Of French Health Professionals Trained To Support Newly-Launched...

Hundreds Of French Health Professionals Trained To Support Newly-Launched Medical Cannabis Trial

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THE French-government backed medical cannabis trial has so far recruited 325 patients of the 3,000 planned.

The pilot programme was first announced in October 2019, but only launched on March 26 this year having been delayed by the Covid pandemic.

The plan is to monitor 3,000 people over a two year period suffering from chronic and cancer-related pain, severe epilepsy, nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis and patients in palliative care.

French online cannabis news site Newsweed reports that two months after the much-vaunted launch of the study, only 325 people had been signed-up.

It reports that the distribution of patients at two months was 140 for neuropathic pain, 79 for drug-resistant epilepsy, 24 for oncology, 13 for a palliative situation and 69 for painful spasticity. 

Pace To Pick-Up After Summer

The plan is to recruit 750 patients apiece for the painful spasticity and neuropathic pain groupings, with 500 each for the remaining three categories.

A new temporary scientific committee has been set-up this week by France’s Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des Produits de Santé (the national medicines agency, otherwise known as the ANSM) to monitor the testing of medical cannabis. 

The chair of the committee, Professor Nicolas Authier, who is head of the Medical Pharmacology Department and the pain clinic at the University Hospital and Medical School in Clermont-Ferrand, told Newsweed that this would now “make it possible to adapt the conditions of the experiment on various points (register, patient quotas, training, products, etc.).”

But he added that the pace of inclusion should not change.

“The Covid health crisis is not over, research projects are also relaunching … so some professionals, although motivated, have not had time to get started. But we weren’t expecting to fill the 3,000 places in three months,” Professor Authier explained to Newsweed.

“Summer is also coming and her vacation so let’s give more time to do things right. The success of the experiment does not lie in the speed with which patients are included. Let’s give ourselves until the end of the year. The objective is to calmly build the aftermath.”

Lack Of Vaporisers

The professor, who was already heading up various committees responsible for preparing the trial, told Newsweed that several hundred health professionals had been trained in the first wave in hospitals, and that more would be done in the coming months.

He added that problems with the availability of flowers due to a lack of vaporizers, should be sorted during the summer. “But that does not slow down inclusions in the experiment,” he said.

The aim of the study is twofold. The first is to evaluate the feasibility of providing medical cannabis in France, and the second to compile initial data on the safety and efficacy of cannabis in the medical field.

But as cannabis production is banned in France, all the drugs are having to be sourced from foreign manufacturers. 

To date, six companies have seen their products selected for use in the French medical cannabis trial, including Australian firms Althea and Little Green Pharma – whose founder and managing director Fleta Solomon was interviewed by BusinessCann last week – Canadian ventures Aurora Cannabis and Tilray, Israeli concern Panaxia, and UK-based Emmac Life Sciences.

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