Medical cannabis cannot be approved for use in children with severe epilepsy on the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) because there is not enough evidence to prove it helps, The Guardian reports a watchdog has ruled. The decision by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) dismayed campaigners and parents who said their children would suffer as a result. But they took some hope from a review by NHS England. Like Nice, it said more trials were needed but said the children’s experiences on medicinal cannabis in the UK and abroad should be taken into account as evidence of how well the drug works.
Professor Mike Barnes, the chair of the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, said Nice was wrong to want to assess medical cannabis on the basis of the same sort of trials used to approve conventional medicines. Barnes, who is medical director of a chain of private clinics using medicinal cannabis currently advertising to recruit more doctors, said it had “failed to take into account alternative, valid sources of evidence” and he claimed the Nice committee was made up of people with negative views about cannabis. “Those with positive views were excluded from the process,” he said.
On the other hand, he said, NHS England had produced “a positive review that recognises the need for accepting different but valid evidence for the efficacy of cannabis as a medicine”.
[link url="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/aug/08/watchdog-declines-to-back-nhs-cannabis-treatment-for-epilepsy"]The Guardian report[/link]