This Week In Weed – 24 March 2019

Not enough cannabis prescriptions for NHS England to publish

Figures on NHS England prescriptions for medical cannabis are unlikely to be published by the end of March 2019, despite ministerial assurances that they would, The Pharmaceutical Journal has been told.

On 10 January 2019, pharmacy minister Steve Brine said in a parliamentary written question that NHS England had established systems to monitor the prescribing of cannabis medicine. The first data from this monitoring was expected by the end of March 2019, he added.

But because the prescribing figures are so low – believed to be four – NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) does not currently intend to publish the data because of the risk that individual patients could be identified if the data was combined with other information in the public domain.

The authority will continue to report the prescribing results to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on a monthly basis.

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences finds anti-tumour properties in cannabis

In vitro experiments prove a strong anti-tumour property in cannabis extract, according to said Prof. Iva Ugrinova, Director of the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Her team has been working on the national scientific programme “Innovative Low-Toxic and Biologically Active Means for Precision Medicine” and has delivered the first results. “They are impressive and we are very pleased,” said Prof. Ugrinova.

A “cannabis-derived substance” was used to treat nine tumour cell lines, from the mammary gland, the lung and the uterine cervix. The natural substance showed a clearly toxic effect on cells commensurate with synthetic cytostatics. The molecular biologists team will go on to conduct experiments to determine the specific effect and mechanisms by which cannabidiol kills cancer cells.

New York cannabis bill not ready for state budget

Andrew Cuomo

New York’s adult-use cannabis legalisation measure is not ready to make it into the state’s budget bill for the upcoming fiscal year. Governor Andrew Cuomo says it will now be more difficult to pass a cannabis bill outside of the budget this year but he still thinks it could be done by June.

Legislators have signaled that they need more time to discuss the bill and thrash out negotiations. Black lawmakers have said they would block it if it doesn’t sufficiently address questions of diversity and equity, as was promised.

Majority in Guernsey ‘would not be bothered’ by legalisation

Charles Parkinson

Most people in Guernsey “would not be bothered” if cannabis use in Guernsey was legalised, according to senior deputy Charles Parkinson.

“Most people on the island would not use cannabis if it were legalised. I myself would be in that category, but for those that do, if established properly, then why not?”

He said Guernsey should now consider a further legal change after commercial growth for medical purposes was legalised on the island.

“I just think that the rest of the world is going in that direction and we should be looking at it now,’ he said. “We spend lots on jurisdiction and policing of people in possession for really small amounts of cannabis for their own use.

“Young people end up with a criminal record, making it more difficult for them to get jobs.”

The legalisation of cannabis has also been discussed in Jersey. Head of Visit Jersey, Keith Beecham, said that his island’s economy and tourism industries could benefit.

“Places such as Colorado and Canada have liberalised their laws and it seems that it is bringing money into their jurisdictions through taxation, and that is to be applauded,” he said.

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