Online medical cannabis clinic for MS pain management opens in UK

Treat It clinic aims to circumvent ineffective medicines, referral wait times

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by Mary Chapman |

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An illustration of medical marijuana products.

The Kanabo Group has established what it claims is the U.K.’s first online medical cannabis clinic to help people with multiple sclerosis and other conditions manage chronic pain.

Called Treat It, the clinic is expected to help those whose conventional pharmaceutical medicines are ineffective or those frustrated by long wait times for physician referrals.

Powered by GP Service, a Kanabo Group company, Treat It can provide medical cannabis fast and efficiently. The clinic is supported by a proprietary health tech platform that can access patients’ medical records and offers secure online access to a physician, usually in under 24 hours.

“Millions with chronic pain are suffering in the U.K. needlessly because they can’t get timely access to medication,” Suleman Sacranie, founder of GP Service, said in a Kanabo press release.

“Our secure patient medical record system is optimised for patient outcomes so that a Treat It doctor will consult with a patient within a few hours and, where appropriate, prescribe medicinal cannabis with delivery possible in a few days,” Sacranie said.

Because the doctor has access to patient medical records, a treatment recommendation can be made quickly. After a prescription is processed, medicinal cannabis is delivered by a partner pharmacy, typically within a week. Repeat prescriptions are usually delivered the following day.

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What sets Treat It apart from existing private medical cannabis clinics is that it’s an online primary healthcare provider that connects the patient and his medical record with a physician and dispensing pharmacy.

“With Treat It, we are putting the power back into the hands of patients by offering secure and easy access to medical cannabis treatments and delivering them right to the doorstep. We recognise the need for alternative treatments to conventional pharmaceuticals, which often leave chronic pain sufferers frustrated and underserved,” said Avihu Tamir, CEO of Kanabo Group.

Some 8 million U.K. residents have chronic pain, according to London-based Kanabo. About 24% are prescribed opioids as treatment. Kanabo is also focusing on conditions such as migraine, sciatica, cancer, neuropathy (damage to the nerves), and joint, back, and neck pain.

According to the British Pain Society, U.K. patients commonly wait up to 13 weeks for a treatment referral. Even if they get a prescription for chronic pain, conventional pharmaceutical therapies can often have side effects.

To prescribe medicinal cannabis, Treat It physicians must be registered with the U.K.’s General Medical Counsel, which independently regulates physicians, and follow National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines.

The clinic charges patients an initial consultation fee of £79.99 (about $96) with varying prescription costs, depending on the patient.

While more research is needed, some studies have suggested that cannabis has therapeutic promise in managing MS symptoms such as pain, spasticity, and problems sleeping. In the U.K., prescribed cannabis is legal in certain situations.

The cannabis-based oral spray Sativex (nabiximols), an add-on medication for muscle stiffness and spasms, is the sole licensed form of medical cannabis for MS in the U.K.