Agnès Buzyn takes another step towards the "cannabis cigarette" for medical use

Agnès Buzyn reaffirms her position in favor of therapeutic cannabis if it brings "a plus" compared to cannabis-based medicines already authorized in France.

After recently announcing that medical marijuana "could arrive in France", Health Minister Agnès Buzyn took a step closer to the "cannabis cigarette" for medical use in an interview with RMC on July 10th. Provided, however, that it brings "a plus" in the treatment of diseases compared to cannabis-based drugs already authorized in France.

"There are drugs based on cannabis, it's medical cannabis in the form of capsules, these drugs are allowed, but they are negotiating prices.When the price will be fixed, people will have access to these drugs", she explained. Others would like to go to the authorization to use the cannabis cigarette as medical marijuana and there, a number of researches are going on in different countries to find out if it really brings a plus compared to the drugs in tablets ".

# Health #Cannabis
"If it is useful to fellow citizens to relieve pain, we will be able to legalize medical cannabis, I have no fixed doctrine on this subject"
? @agnesbuzyn Minister of Health and Solidarity # BourdinDirect pic.twitter.com/0zhdDzjkJ7

- RMC (@RMCinfo) July 10, 2018

These statements follow a platform, co-written by elected officials, doctors and writers and published Sunday, July 8 in The Parisian to ask "Madam Minister" to go "faster".
"Producing cannabis for therapeutic use in France is no longer an option but a necessity: how can we not deplore the national status quo on this public health issue Why maintain the seal of the ban and the legislative and regulatory arsenal which accompanies it with regard to more than 300 000 French patients who could alleviate their suffering differently? ", wonder the signatories, among which include, among others, the senator PS Rachid Témal, the mayor PS of Strasbourg Roland Ries , MEPs LREM Sonia Krimi, Jean-Baptiste Moreau, and Florent Boudié, Mayor EELV of Grenoble Eric Piolle and Mayor EELV of the Second Arrondissement of Paris, Jacques Boutault.

"#Cannabis # Therapeutic, Let's go faster, Minister?!? ".
I invite you to read, to share this forum, published in @leParisien_pol, carried by @ericcorreia Eric, myself and many //t.co/yjbFMoCY6U. Join us ! pic.twitter.com/gKLkuHb52v

- Rachid Temal (@RachidTemal) July 8, 2018

The ineffectiveness of cannabis on chronic pain

It remains to be seen on which studies this request is based. Those who engage in it believe that "a minority of refractory people persist in considering the use of the product as dangerous, reducing it to the category of prohibited substances", while "the very comprehensive report of the effects of cannabis on health" that the American Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine published in 2017 (...) confirm the effectiveness of the product in the management of chronic pain, physical disorders caused by chemotherapy and muscle spasm related to multiple sclerosis in plates. "
Regarding the management of non-cancer chronic pain, a recent prospective study published by The Lancet just demonstrated that cannabis is not effective. Recruitment of the cohort took place from August 13, 2012 to April 8, 2014. 1514 participants were asked, among other things, about the origins and duration of chronic pain, cannabis use over the course of life and 12 last month, opioid use and the existence or not of general depressive or anxiety disorders.

After four years of follow-up, 295 participants (24%) had used cannabis to relieve pain. Compared to people who did not use cannabis, the researchers found that participants who had used cannabis had "a higher pain severity score". "We have found no evidence that cannabis use has reduced the use of prescribed opioids or increased opioid abandonment rates," the scientists added.

Physical disorders caused by chemotherapy

Let's move on to the physical disorders caused by chemotherapy. In the United States, often cited as an example because of the legalization of therapeutic cannabis in 28 states, nearly half of oncologists admit to talking about the therapeutic use of marijuana to their patients without being sufficiently informed on the subject, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Note that this is the first national survey on the subject since the use of therapeutic cannabis is allowed in the United States, and it was published in May 2018, so long after the report of the effects of cannabis on the health of the American academies of science, engineering and medicine on which the signatories of the medical pro cannabis platform rely.
80% of oncologists surveyed said they had already discussed the issue of therapeutic cannabis with their patients, but less than 30% of them felt they had enough scientific data to make such recommendations. "The scientific evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana in oncology is still very thin, which puts doctors in a very uncomfortable position," recalls, and rightly, Dr. Ilana Braun, Dana-Farber Institute of Adult Psychosocial Oncology, even though 82% of French people support the use of cannabis on prescription.

Cannabis and multiple sclerosis

Let's end with multiple sclerosis. Most of the cannabis studies are short-term. All note that medical cannabis can produce a variety of side effects, including difficulty in attention and concentration, dizziness, drowsiness or fatigue, loss of balance and falls, nausea, vomiting and constipation, or psychological problems such as depression and psychosis.

Currently, only one cannabinoid drug has a French marketing authorization: Sativex, recommended against spasticity and multiple sclerosis. Dronabinol and cannabidiol, used for patients with neuropathic pain refractory to conventional treatments or epilepsies, are accessible, but only with a temporary authorization (a procedure allowing some patients to obtain a drug without authorization. placing on the market and not subject to a clinical trial in this indication).