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Research & Development Medical research, Legislation & policy, Pharmaceutical

Is There a Doctor in the House?

The cannabis plant has been noted for its medicinal properties for approximately 8,000 years and was first reported in a modern medical journal by WH O’Shaughnessy in an 1840 paper for the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal that described the use of hemp resin in convulsive disorders. Medical use of cannabis continued well into the 1900s before socio-political changes led to its prohibition. Recent changes to attitudes and laws surrounding the use of cannabis has since brought the medicinal potential of the plant back to the attention of patients, doctors, researchers and policymakers. There is huge demand from patients and their families, particularly those who have received significant benefit from cannabis administered off-prescription, to widen access to medical cannabis for a range of ailments.

However, it is difficult for clinicians to prescribe medical cannabis with confidence. Research into the therapeutic properties of the plant has been restricted by its reputation and scheduling as a drug of misuse and we are yet to fully understand how cannabis can be best used in the clinic.

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About the Authors

Simon Erridge

Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London and Business Development Director, Sapphire Medical Clinics, UK.


Mikael H Sodergren

Managing Director & Academic Lead, Sapphire Medical Clinics, Research Director, EMMAC Life Sciences, Consultant Hepatopancreatobiliary Surgeon and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Imperial College London, UK.

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