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February 28, 2019

ECH plans first UK-wide network of specialist medical cannabis clinics

European Cannabis Holdings (ECH) has today announced plans to open The Medical Cannabis Clinics, a network of specialist clinics around the UK, in a significant step forward for patients living with a range of chronic and debilitating conditions. ECH is the pioneering group which earlier this month created a historic milestone by facilitating the import of the UK’s first bulk shipment of cannabis-based medicine since the Home Office decision to legalise medical cannabis on 1st November last year.

The clinics, which will open doors in major cities this spring, will be the first in the UK to offer this service, and will focus on treating patients with serious  conditions including chronic pain, neurological and psychiatric problems  who have exhausted all existing treatment options, and where medical cannabis has been proven to deliver significant therapeutic benefit. 

The opening of the chain of private clinics follows the Home Office’s decision to reschedule medical cannabis in November. Despite the change in the law, only four patients have successfully accessed this treatment via the NHS, meaning the clinics will act as a lifeline to those who have thus far struggled to access this treatment. 

The barriers to access, which include establishing exceptional clinical circumstances, exhausting all lawful alternatives, gaining agreement from an NHS Trust Medical Director, and engaging a specialist doctor to accept liability, mean that patients are generally unable to secure this treatment via the NHS. These clinics will offer a framework under which patients can access the medication they need and alleviate avoidable suffering.

The clinics will specialise in innovative cannabis-based therapy and prescription cannabinoids, and be open to patients following specialist referral.

This includes potentially life-changing relief from chronic pain conditions including  arthritis, fibromyalgia, nerve conditions, muscle cramps (spasticity); treating neurological conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; and addressing psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Professor Mike Barnes, a consultant neurologist, will serve as the Clinical Director of the Clinics. Prof Barnes was responsible for obtaining the first medicinal cannabis licence for Alfie Dingley. He is also one of the world’s foremost experts in medical cannabis whose 2016 report ‘Cannabis: The Evidence for Medical Use’ helped pave the way for legalisation of medical cannabis

The first clinic will be led by Dr David McDowell, Consultant in Pain Management, and will open at The Beeches Consulting Centre in Manchester in March. Dr McDowell, who issued the first prescription for medical cannabis in December, will treat patients with chronic pain, many of whom currently depend on powerful and highly addictive opioids. Clinics will then open in London across multiple disciplines including neurology and psychiatry in addition to chronic pain, on Harley Street, and in Birmingham later this spring.  

ECH remains committed to opening up the UK market to gain access to medical cannabis.  In addition to launching a network of specialist medical cannabis clinics and facilitating the import of the first bulk shipment of cannabis-based medicine to the UK, ECH continues to support patients in need by providing key infrastructure, educational services and marketing support. These landmark moments for the UK’s fledgling medical cannabis industry will greatly improve access for patients.

Professor Barnes commented: “These clinics represent a much-needed framework to enable access to treatments for a range of serious illnesses, and bring the UK into line with other countries when it comes to pain management. The hope is that over time patients all around the country will have access to the relief that they are looking for.”

Hannah Simon, ECH COO, added: “We are delighted to be supporting the establishment of the Medical Cannabis Clinics in the UK. The legalisation of prescription cannabis has given people with chronic illnesses hope; the next step is to ensure the availability of medical cannabis to offer those without other alternatives the treatment they need.”

ABOUT ECH

ECH is at the forefront of transforming treatment options for patients with chronic and debilitating conditions across the UK. Supported by a team of world-leading medical advisors, this unrivalled group of companies take a comprehensive approach to improving access to medical cannabis for eligible patients by providing key infrastructure and educational services. 

As the only online medical cannabis education platform, The Academy of Medical Cannabis seeks to improve responsible use of medical cannabis while European conference series, Cannabis Europa, provides a platform for both government and the medical community to discuss policy. 

ECH’s wider portfolio of companies also includes market intelligence firm Prohibition Partners, and CBD brand house Amkeu.

These holdings provide ECH with a fundamental anchor in the cannabis investment market, while helping it define this emerging industry.

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