The Canadian medical community has long identified a need for relevant clinical guidelines and established best practices for authorizing medical cannabis to patients to aid in the treatment of chronic pain, which one in five Canadians live with. Spectrum Therapeutics aims to remedy this knowledge gap by way of a multi-year agreement with the Canadian Aids Society (CAS) to fund the independent development of clinical guidelines and recommendations regarding the medical use of cannabis for optimal wellness, quality of life and pain management. Clinical guidelines are essential tools that inform medical decisions to optimize patient care through a systematic review of evidence and an assessment of the benefits and harms of alternative care options.
In 1998, CAS was the first patient organization in Canada to champion access to medical cannabis for people living with HIV/AIDS. As early advocates, CAS has maintained focus on working with the medical system to ensure a wide range of treatment options can be both considered and made available where clinically appropriate.
CAS has published a protocol in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), one of the world’s oldest and leading medical journals, outlining a cannabis literature review which when complete, will inform the clinical practice guidelines for the use of cannabis in the management of chronic pain. The BMJ publication can be found here.
The guidelines will include up-to-date information on the state of evidence and research for clinical and disease management questions along with recommended strategies for optimal wellness and quality of life for key stakeholders such as patients, physicians, researchers, policy makers and community-based service providers. The guidelines will look beyond the scope of disease and symptom management and wellness issues such as sexuality, harm reduction and opioid substitution will also be included.
This publication is the result of the hard work of the project task force, a steering committee of leaders in the cannabis field, who are currently leading the research and development of the protocol as well as the full set of clinical practice guidelines.
The next step in our support of CAS will be the publication of the clinical guidelines which we expect will happen in the coming months. Once published, the guidelines will play a significant role in the ongoing efforts to break down barriers to access to medical cannabis.
We look forward to getting the guidelines into the hands of Canadian healthcare professionals so they can better reference a systematic approach on authorizing medical cannabis for their patients managing chronic pain.
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