Dame Sally Davies says medicinal cannabis legalisation has opened Pandora’s Box

pharmafile | March 20, 2019 | News story | Research and Development  

England’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dame Sally Davies has said the legalisation of medicinal cannabis has “opened a Pandora’s Box,” with patients believing the drug is a cure-all for a variety of conditions.

“I think we have opened a Pandora’s Box and there is a belief that it works for many conditions,” Davies said.

Davies also expressed concerns regarding the safety of the drug as she called for robust clinical trials. “I do have concerns about safety. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) we know has an impact on the brain and causes depression, schizophrenia, brain development problems in young and adolescents.”

“If a pregnant mother was taking it I’d be very worried. So we need more data on that,” she added. “I really hope we can do the [randomised control] trials, because without these how can we help the patients?”

The comments come as cannabis firm ECH announced the establishment of the first medicinal cannabis clinic in Manchester with additional clinics to be opened in London and Birmingham.

Nevertheless patients have struggled to access medicinal cannabis so far. Peter Carroll, of the campaign group End Our Pain, said he was “shocked and horrified” that so few patients had been able to access the drug as he suggested that waiting years for the results of clinical trials would be “absurd”.

Louis Goss

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