Australian first medicinal cannabis study gives hope to patients suffering chronic pain
- A national medicinal cannabis study sponsored by Little Green Pharma provides promising results for patients experiencing chronic pain resistant to other treatments.
- The first Australian study to be published evaluating locally-made GMP medicinal cannabis products for the management of chronic refractory pain*.
- Findings from this study have been peer-reviewed and published in the international scientific journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. Open Access to the published article is freely available online at: https://doi.org/10.1159/000521492
- 47.9% of patients reported a statistically significant improvement in pain impact scores** indicating an enhancement of quality of life with 49.3% and 35.6% also reporting meaningful improvements in sleep and fatigue respectively.
- Results demonstrated a positive effect with almost half of all patients benefitting from treatment with LGP Classic 10:10 (balanced ratio of THC and CBD) oral medicinal cannabis although they were resistant to other standard treatments.
- Provides a positive result for Australian medical practitioners demanding more research before considering medicinal cannabis as a treatment option.
- Chronic pain affects 1 in 5 Australians and is estimated to increase from 3.24 million Australians in 2018 to 5.23 million people by 2050.
Interviews with a medicinal cannabis prescriber, LGP Head of Research & Innovation, Dr Leon Warne as well as other resources are available here:
Little Green Pharma (ASX: LGP) (“LGP” or the “Company”) is pleased to report findings of a national study showing the positive effect of oral medicinal cannabis on chronic refractory pain* in patients who have not experienced relief with existing pain medications including opioids, anti-inflammatories, and steroid treatments.
This research provides promising results for long-suffering patients with pain and is the first of its kind using Australian-made, GMP cannabis medicines.
The study included 151 participants with common chronic pain conditions including arthritis, neuropathic pain and other musculoskeletal pain who had tried other pain therapies and failed to see improvement. Patients receiving LGP Classic 10:10 (with a balanced ratio of THC and CBD) were monitored for an average observational period of 133 days.
The observational, open-label study found almost half of all patients benefitted from oral medicinal cannabis. 47.9% of patients reported a statistically significant improvement in pain impact scores**, suggesting an improvement in their quality of life, which is ultimately what matters to patients affected by chronic pain. The majority of patients also reported meaningful improvements in sleep (49.3%) and fatigue (35.6%), two common problems for those with chronic pain.
The study also assessed the safety, tolerability, and self-reported effectiveness of the pharmaceutical-grade cannabis product (LGP Classic 10:10) in relieving pain and other symptoms in adult patients diagnosed with chronic pain resistant to other treatments. The severity analysis revealed the majority of adverse events (AEs) reported were mild. Somnolence (sleepiness) and dry mouth/throat were the most common AEs experienced and no severe adverse effects were reported within the observational period for this cohort of patients. This proportion of AEs is consistent with existing studies of registered medicinal cannabis products3,4 and analgesics5.
The research was conducted nationally within the independent network of CA Clinics. Findings from this clinical study were published in February 2022 in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. Open Access to the published article is freely available online at: https://doi.org/10.1159/000521492
Commenting on the study, LGP Head of Research and Innovation and study author Dr Leon Warne said:
“LGP is extremely pleased with these results that show the Classic 10:10 formulation has been scientifically validated and demonstrated a significantly positive effect on the impact of chronic refractory pain. This study is important as it provides an option for those patients who have not had success with other pain therapies and gives doctors some vital research they’ve been requesting since medicinal cannabis was legalised.”
Chronic pain affects can negatively impact a person’s quality of life including their sleep patterns, social engagement, as well as their ability to work and conduct daily activities. It can also cause emotional distress and lead to serious mental health problems including depression.
Patients undertaking the study were prescribed LGP Classic 10:10 medicinal cannabis oil.
Jenni Garland (NSW), fibromyalgia patient taking LGP Classic 10:10: “I wasn’t able to control my intense nerve pain with prescription medication and had to give up working full time and the hobbies that I loved. Since taking medicinal cannabis my life has changed. I am able to walk and stand for long periods of time, I can exercise and enjoy my art and craft. I have my life back.”
Dr Joe Kosterich (MBBS), Medical Advisor at LGP: “Studies such as this, led by researchers using quality, Australian made medicinal cannabis, is what we want to continue to see to increase confidence amongst GPs in prescribing medicinal cannabis.”
Dr Mark Hardy M.B.,B.S., FRACGP, FAChAM (RACP), from CA Clinics: “This research demonstrates the real-world impact of medicinal cannabis. In the study, patient-reported pain impact scores were significantly reduced across the entire patient group, and the majority of patients saw meaningful improvements in sleep and fatigue, which is impactful given the difficult, unmanageable nature of their pain. This underscores the importance of ensuring that patients have access to affordable, reliable and quality medicinal cannabis.”
Justin James, HIF CEO – HIF and Little Green Pharma have partnered to make medication costs more manageable for medical cannabis patients: “Since medicinal cannabis was legalised more than 400,000 scripts have been written for patients by 715 authorised practitioners. HIF was very proud to be the first major private health insurer to publicly declare support for medicinal cannabis and one of the first to offer rebates for treatments under our Extras policies. This study reinforces the importance of alternative treatments for helping to ease chronic pain and the benefits of ongoing research into the efficacy of medicinal cannabis”.
ABOUT CHRONIC PAIN
About 1 in 5 Australians suffer from chronic pain. Pain is regarded as chronic when it does not go away and is experienced by a patient on most days of the week for at least 3 months. A slightly higher proportion of females’ report having chronic pain than males do. Almost two-thirds of people with chronic pain report that their pain interferes with their daily activities.