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The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society is a physician and expert-led nonprofit society dedicated to the education of clinicians on the topic of medical cannabis and therapeutic cannabinoids dedicated to supporting the medical and scientific community in the UK and globally with high-quality education, peer support and training to benefit patients who are suitable for this class of medication as an option.

We’re seeking Masters-level Information & Library Studies Research Student to lead a project for the Society.

The project

As our main remit is education, we aim to provide a searchable research database for medical cannabis and cannabinoid studies that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. This ranges from case reports and observational data sets through to RCTs and meta-analysis searchable by keyword or clinical/therapeutic area where cannabinoid-based medicines are being used.

In Canada, Vice-Chair Dr. Gordon worked with a master of library studies research student from the University of British Columbia in Canada on creating such a database for another area of medicine and this project was very successful.  We hope to complete a similar project with a student here in the UK. In the past, Dr. Gordon acted as the clinical mentor/supervisor for the student over two semesters and the project was completed as part of their curriculum.  The student was able to gain successful employment upon graduation immediately using this project as the showcase in their portfolio and recommendations from Dr. Gordon as well as being able to show their work on leading this project.

Why it is needed

Currently, there is no unbiased source of information for clinicians where they can search for the most up to date and also the most relevant peer-reviewed research in this topic area, which is still quite new and considered by many, a controversial area of medicine.

This service and capability is absolutely essential to ensuring clinicians have up-to-date information at their fingertips to help support their prescribing decisions in this area and keep abreast of new studies and findings to guide both clinical decisions as well as support policy change and continuing medical education needs.  Currently, many patients seeking medical cannabis for a treatment-resistant chronic illness in the UK are coming to their doctors knowing more about the published evidence base than their clinician.

Why we need you

The MCCS is run on a volunteer basis by leading expert physicians who also work full-time in their practices and do not have the database building technical skill set or time scales for the completion of this project.  Because we are a not-for-profit organisation with limited funds, we are unable to seek out a commercial partner to complete this project.

Apply now

To apply for the position, please contact the Society by emailing [email protected] with a cover letter which details your interest and qualifications. Expenses will be paid as part of this work and you will receive full support.


On Wednesday 15 July 2020 at 6pm (GMT), Prof Mike Barnes & Hannah Deacon from The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society are joining Dr. Benjamin Viaris de Lesegno, Co-founder & Chief Medical Officer, Cellen Therapeutics.

The topic – Is the lack of a domestic medical cannabis market is failing UK patients? – will be explored in full by medical cannabis expert, Prof Barnes, Patient Advocate & Director of The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, Hannah Deacon and Dr. Viaris de Lesegno of Cellen, a UK-based pharmaceutical company that manufactures medical cannabis treatments.

Sign up:

You can take part in the webinar live from 6pm (GMT) on Wednesday 15 July.

If you can’t make it on the day, please sign up anywhere and we’ll send you the link so you can watch the conversation back.

This webinar is open to healthcare professionals and all members of the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society.

 

The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society has today re-issued a newly updated version of Recommendations and Guidance on Medical Cannabis under Prescription.

Our guidelines set out the facts about medical cannabis treatments – history, evidence and prescribing information. In conjunction with the Society’s recently published Roadmap for UK Doctors – a step by step guide to prescribing this treatment – clinicians in the UK can feel reassured that they are supported every step of the way by an independent community of medical cannabis experts.

In the UK today, medical cannabis is being unfairly denied to patients in the NHS because the regulators do not understand the treatment. The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society believe that people in the UK are being left to suffer because NICE, the Department for Health and Social Care and the NHS have thus far failed to provide doctors with fair and balanced guidelines when it comes to prescribing medical cannabis.

The MCCS guidance, updated and reissued today considers the extensive evidence available across a wide range of conditions. We hope this is welcomed by medical bodies and urge them to consider these expert recommendations.

Read and download the updated guidelines here.

For the first time in the UK, the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society has today published an independent step-by-step guide to becoming a medical cannabis prescriber.

Available at www.ukmccs.org/prescribing, the Society’s expert committee brought together information from the Government, the NHS, NICE, Royal Colleges, licensed producers of medical cannabis products and training providers into one place for the first time, giving doctors a clear and rational route to prescribe.

Since medical cannabis was made legal in November 2018, the number of prescriptions for the treatment have remained extremely low as clinicians struggle to understand Government regulations and various guidelines issued by numerous bodies. Only around 50 people have benefitted from medical cannabis prescriptions, mostly in the private sector, since then.

The guide for clinicians is a roadmap to help you navigate the information currently available, developed by doctors who have now begun seeing the benefits of this treatment with their own patients in the UK. In conjunction with the peer support offered by membership of the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, this step-by-step guide – which will be regularly updated – provides doctors with the support and guidance required to begin prescribing.

In February, we will re-issue our own official guidance – Recommendations and Guidance on Medical Cannabis under Prescription, version 2, to support this prescribing information.

All information is correct at the time of writing (Jan 2020) and will be updated regularly. If you would like to suggest changes, additions or amendments to the published information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Share your feedback or request information and we will do our best to incorporate it into future versions.

You can also sign up as a member for just £90 per year.  If you’re not a clinician but want to know more then please sign up to our mailing list for regular updates.

The work of the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society is made possible by unrestricted educational grant funding from our supporters. Find out more about becoming a supporter.

This week (Wednesday 13 November) we proudly bought together leading Medical Cannabis experts and healthcare professionals to our conference, ‘Medical Cannabis in Practice: Prescribing, practicalities and the patient experience’.

During the event, doctors pledged to become medical cannabis prescribers, to access education and explore and contribute to the evidence base for medical cannabis treatments at our first annual conference in London.

We welcomed attendees from across the sector who were interested in learning more about access to Medical Cannabis in the UK today and the day provided attendees with a practical insight into medical cannabis, discussed the global position of the drug’s evidence, the UK regulatory space, efficacy, research and the impact on patients.

Speakers included one of the industry’s leading experts, Professor David Nutt of DrugScience. He discussed the charity’s newly launched Project Twenty21 trial – Europe’s first and biggest national medical cannabis registry of 20,000 patients, creating the largest body of evidence for the effectiveness and tolerability of medical cannabis.

Professor Mike Barnes provided an introduction to medical cannabis and explored the global evidence and Executive Director Hannah Deacon talked about the frustrations in fighting for access of the drug for her son, Alfie Dingley. Dr Dani Gordon advised delegates on understanding and navigating medical cannabis and CBD treatments.

Dr Liz Iveson, complex care specialist and prescribing doctor shared stories of patients she is successfully treating with medical cannabis and Dr Leon Barron provided insights into the role of the GP in this space.

Professor Mike Barnes, Chair of the UK Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society, said: “We were pleased to welcome clinicians, healthcare and industry professionals to this conference that not only educated attendees on all the latest from the Medical Cannabis sector but provided a call to action for doctors to learn more about the life-changing benefits of this treatment.”

Supporting the conference were CiiTECH Ltd, a cannabis biotech company that focuses on discovering, developing and commercialising cannabinoid products for the global market and the leading Australian medical cannabis manufacturer, Little Green Pharma, who are now supplying the European medical cannabis market.

The MCCS is made up of some of the most respected medical cannabis clinicians in the country and ensure that clinicians have access to evidence, education, training, guidance and support to enable them to prescribe medical cannabis to patients who could benefit from this life-changing treatment.

Thank you to those who attended our conference, keep up to date on our website and social media channels for news of future events, workshops and conferences. You can also sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know more.

Join the Society. 

Hilary Latham from York uses medical cannabis treatment as part of her cancer treatment. Here, she tells her story.

In September 2009 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. One mastectomy later I was told the operation had been a success. I was one of the lucky ones… or so I thought.

Ten years later, in February, I moved to York to be near my two daughters, my new grandson, plus another grandchild on the way. Things were looking good. Aged 65, single (apart from the love of my life, my dog!), I was still fit enough to chase my grandchildren around the garden and continue my successful painting and decorating business.

As this year progressed I noticed that my mild asthma was getting progressively worse and by July I was feeling quite ill. A trip to the doctors was quickly followed up by admission to hospital where I was told the cancer was back and had spread to my liver. As a secondary cancer, I realised I wasn’t going to be so lucky this time. My oncologist confirmed I had stage 4 cancer and my life expectancy, without chemotherapy, was just a matter of months, and with successful chemotherapy I had perhaps one to two years.

Considering chemotherapy treatment

I had always thought that if the cancer returned, I wouldn’t have chemotherapy, I didn’t want to spend whatever time I had remaining in this life to be spent on an endless merry go round of potentially debilitating treatment. I also hadn’t planned on the additional complication of hypercalcemia. The cancer was affecting the amount of calcium in my blood, which can be life-threatening. I was very poorly.

As an active outdoorsy type of person, quality of life is so important to me. I realized that the prognosis of just a few months to live wouldn’t give me the time I needed to make some precious memories. I knew I would have to take the chemotherapy route to try to reduce the cancer, which in turn would hopefully reduce the calcium in my blood. In my life I’ve been blessed with a positive mind et, never been one to say, ‘what if?’ negatively. This was time to get the gloves on, time to fight!

Making that decision was so empowering. I couldn’t sit there waiting to fade away or fall prey to the debilitating chemotherapy. I understand many people have an easier journey than others on chemotherapy, but with my limited life expectancy, I needed to know my chemotherapy journey would enable me to have a quality of life to be active and enjoy my grandchildren.

 

Exploring medical cannabis treatments

In addition to being a decorator, I’m a complementary healthcare practitioner and I’ve had 20 years’ experience researching many potentially healing therapies. I believe that there are many avenues we can take to help in all areas of our health, and I was about to discover a great ally on my journey – medicinal cannabis. Do I hear an intake of breath, an occasional tut-tut, mutterings of illegal drugs at the mention of a natural plant that has been around for thousands of years?

To be absolutely correct, I didn’t ‘discover’ cannabis this year. I was already aware of its existence and had been for a couple of years. I was living in Portugal where the laws regarding cannabis are far more lenient than in the UK. Many people grow it for their own use and my neighbour at the time, a terminally ill lady with secondary cancer, purchased medicinal cannabis from Holland, another country that doesn’t look upon cannabis as an evil weed. I witnessed her final months and was amazed how well she managed – enjoying her life, socialising and being in her garden right up till the last two weeks of her life.

I have been in hospital a fair amount this year with the hypercalcemia and met some amazing people fighting for their lives with cancer. One lady mentioned to me she had bought some cannabis oil on the internet. At this time, I admit I didn’t have much faith in something I could ask Google for, so it was time for research.

 

Research, education and changing attitudes

I am blessed with a very special friend who has left no stone unturned on her quest to help me, spending hours and hours on research. That research led her first to America and then the UK – in particular to Prof Mike Barnes and The Medical Cannabis Clinics. I was told I would need to be referred by my GP to see a specialist. I can imagine the horror on some faces at the thought of approaching their GP to get cannabis!

Luckily for me,  my GP is something else. He goes that extra mile to help his patients and after his initial ‘rabbit in headlights’ reaction, he set about doing his own research and put me in touch with Dr Iveson in York.

 

The journey to treatment

Dr Iveson is a Consultant Physician specialising in complex care and symptom management particularly in the elderly and patients with stroke and long term conditions. She is working with the Medical Cannabis Clinician’s Society and charity Drug Science to further develop research into medical cannabis treatment and help educate and share her experience with fellow doctors.

During my initial consultation with Dr Iveson I was most impressed by her care and professionalism. My target was to take medicinal cannabis to help alleviate the potential side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea and sickness, plus help with insomnia and anxiety. I left with confidence in knowing I had made a major step forward towards a better quality of life during the daunting journey of chemotherapy.

After my initial delight in the positive attitude of my GP, I didn’t anticipate the reaction of others when I told them I was taking medicinal cannabis. Because of my research and openness to cannabis, I hadn’t realised the stigma behind something so natural. There is something about the word cannabis that really gets a reaction, either a snigger behind the hand or from friends warning me not to mention drugs in front of their partners. My favourite though is the ‘rabbit in headlights’ reaction which I received when I took my prescription to the chemist, which was followed by much huffing and puffing from the pharmacist on duty. But, the pharmacist did some research and realised he was part of something quite ground-breaking. It’s amazing what a bit of education can do!

 

The impact of medical cannabis treatments

I could hardly wait to begin taking my prescription. I am taking a balanced CBD:THC oil at night and a high CBD oil during the day to manage my symptoms and I am slowly titrating the dose upwards with support and close monitoring from Dr Iveson. It took a short while to appreciate all the benefits but it has been quite amazing.

My mouth ulcers have completely disappeared, I’m sleeping very well, and I’m managing my nausea and sickness so much better. One bonus I didn’t realize is that medical cannabis is an anti-inflammatory and opens the airways. It has helped my asthma and my breathing is so much better. I’m in a very positive state of mind and that in itself is a very powerful tool. My oncologist is aware I am taking medicinal cannabis and in the future perhaps we may see a great relationship forming between all health professionals working towards a better quality of life for all.

 

Medical cannabis for all

Medicinal cannabis is not cheap. I had some savings for a rainy day – but I didn’t think that rainy day would come so soon. My savings won’t last forever and I can only hope that in the not so distant future, the price will come down as the demand goes up. And one day, I hope it will be available to all on the NHS.

Hannah Deacon, Executive Director, whose son, Alfie Dingley was the first patient in the UK to receive a permanent cannabis licence, tells her story.

When Alfie was born, he spent the first four months of his life in hospital, lived on and off life support and experienced his first seizure at just eight months old.

Alfie lives with a very rare form of epilepsy and, prior to medical cannabis treatment, experienced more than 500 seizures a month. Now, Alfie, aged eight, lives a relatively normal life thanks to using cannabis oil treatment.

After trying various treatments, anti-epilepsy drugs, a ketogenic diet and immuglobulins, the only treatment that reduced his seizures was a steroid called IV Methyl Prednisone that can cause severe side effects, including mood swings, restlessness and headaches.

At age five, Alfie’s condition got worse. He was visiting the hospital every week and receiving up to 25 doses of steroids a month.

Discovering medical cannabis

In 2019, Alfie’s mum Hannah, took action. After being warned by doctors around the dangers of his seizures and treatment, Hannah began to research other options for her son.

Hannah said: “When doctors advised us on the dangers of Alfie’s treatment, I needed to look into other options. I started to research epilepsy treatments and medical cannabis kept coming up – and felt confident that it was a positive option.

“I wanted to know that whatever happened, I had done everything I could to keep Alfie alive.”

After a series of setbacks from her GP, Hannah was eventually given permission to take Alfie to Holland for medical cannabis where he was assessed and immediately prescribed with the treatment he so desperately needed – Bedrolite CBD oil.

 

The beginning of Alfie’s miracle

After five weeks of medical cannabis treatment Alfie experienced 17 days without a seizure – the longest amount of he had ever gone without experiencing one.

Hannah said: “It was the beginning of our miracle.

“As time went by, we put up the dose of CBD and Alfie started to get better. We then added in a small amount of THC and he did even better. Treatment with cannabis oil has given Alfie a much greater quality of life and significantly reduced the number of seizures he suffers.”

 

Fighting for medical cannabis to be available on the NHS

Returning home, Hannah was ready to fight the biggest battle she had ever had – fighting for medical cannabis to be available on prescription for patients.

Hannah started work with the campaign group,’ End Our Pain’.  Appearing on national TV channels, she made BBC Breakfast where she told Alfie’s story.

After meeting with the Home Office but getting nowhere, Hannah submitted the group’s petition to former Prime Minister, Theresa May, and subsequently met with her.

 

Meeting Professor Mike Barnes

Alfie’s doctor was unfortunately unable to help due to the trust they worked for however, it was then when Hannah met Neurologist and Professor Mike Barnes. When Hannah told Mike about Alfie’s story, he agreed to help.

Hannah said: “Mike stood forward when no one else would. He gave his time and expertise for free because he felt it was the right thing to do. He has now become a lifelong friend and we now work together to improve access to medical cannabis for patients across the UK.”

 

Law changes for medical cannabis

In November 2018, after a long fight – the law changed which now allows medical cannabis to be prescribed as a ‘special’ by a consultant. Although around 500,000 people in the UK have epilepsy, not one more person has been prescribed the treatment on the NHS since this case.

The NHS is yet to offer medical cannabis on prescription due to very restrictive guidelines for clinicians. There is still a long way to go to ensure more people like Alfie can access medical cannabis to drastically improve the quality of their lives.

Join the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society at this exciting conference for clinicians interested in becoming prescribers and for sector professionals and others interested in the growth of access and the reality of medical cannabis in the UK today.

At Medical Cannabis in Practice: Prescribing, practicalities and the patient experience, you’ll learn from those at the heart of this new industry – from licensed producers working to grow and develop treatments, those working to import and ensure access through our pharmacies, and from doctors prescribing life-changing treatments.

Click to buy tickets now

Speakers will include Tonia Antoniazzi MPProf. Roger G Pertwee, Chair, Prof. Mike Barnes, Vice-Chair, Dr Dani Gordon and MCCS Committee Members Dr Leon Barron, GP, Dr Liz Iveson, Consultant Complex Care Physician, Dr Rebbeca Moore, Psychiatrist and Hannah Deacon, Executive Director and Patient Advocate.

With further speakers from across the medical cannabis sector soon to be announced, buy your tickets today and secure your place at this not-to-be missed event.

Interested in joining The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society?

Membership is open to clinicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals interested in medical cannabis treatments. With peer support, training, evidence and exclusive discounts to events and conferences, find out more and join today by emailing [email protected].

You can also sign up during the event.

Chair Prof Mike Barnes, Vice-Chair, Dr Dani Gordon & Committee Member, GP Dr Leon Barron join Dr Christian Jessen & Dr Callie Seaman on The Medical Panel this weekend.

On Saturday 14 September from 12:45pm, the panel will take to the Business Pro Stage to explore medical cannabis in the UK today.

Find out more and book your place here: www.hempandcbdexpo.co.uk/buy-tickets 

Interested in joining The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society?

Membership is open to clinicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals interested in medical cannabis treatments. With peer support, training, evidence and exclusive discounts to events and conferences, find out more and join today by emailing [email protected].

The Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society Executive Committee can often be found speaking at conferences all over the world. Find out where to find them.

Upcoming conferences

14 September 2019, Birmingham
The Hemp & CBD Expo
Speaking: Professor Mike Barnes, Dr Dani Gordon, Dr Leon Barron

21 September 2019, University of Limerick
Medical Cannabis Symposium
Speaking: Professor Mike Barnes

4-5 November 2019, Malta
Medical Cannabis World Summit
Speaking: Professor Mike Barnes & Hannah Deacon

13 November 2019, London
Medical Cannabis: Prescribing, practicalities and the patient experience
Speaking: All committee members plus special guests

28 November, Bristol
Bristol Medical Cannabis Conference
Speaking: Professor Mike Barnes

26 November 2019, Leeds
CMSUK 2019 Conference & AGM ‘Creating Links & Breaking Boundaries’
Speaking: Professor Mike Barnes

4 December 2019, London
CannaBiz Innovation Hub 
Speaking: Professor Mike Barnes & Hannah Deacon