A group of doctors has launched a UK medicinal cannabis clinic, which offers treatment for a wide range of health issues.
Sapphire Medical Clinic, based in London, offers access to medicinal cannabis for all conditions acknowledged to benefit from it.
Access is offered as part of a comprehensive treatment pathway, including other conventional pharmaceutical drugs and treatments.
Dr Mikael Sodergren, managing director and academic lead at Sapphire Medical Clinics, said it is important that access to medicinal cannabis is delivered in a way that fits in with other treatment options.
“Our clinics are based on the premise that patients are treated by our world-renowned specialists in the relevant condition,” he added. “We have the expertise to prescribe medicinal cannabis in a way that fits in with other more conventional treatments as and when we judge that to be in the best interest of the patients.”
The clinic’s aim is to help people to get better, which may or may not involve medical cannabis.
“Operating in this way means that doctors can have the confidence to refer their patients to us, and patients can have the confidence that we will prescribe medicinal cannabis in a way that fits in with other treatments,” explained Sodergren.
The Sapphire team plans to build the first UK-wide national database recording how patients react to medicinal cannabis.
The Sapphire doctors include pain specialist Dr Michael Platt, who frequently treats complex patients referred from the UK and abroad, as well as specialists in paediatric and adult neurology, palliative care, psychiatry, gastroenterology, acute general medicine and neuropathic pain.
The Harley Street-based clinic is the first of what will grow into a national network. It will primarily work on a second opinion basis, accepting referrals from GPs and other specialists.
“Medicinal cannabis has enormous potential to help patients. But it is not a ‘silver bullet’ or ‘miracle cure’ and will not be appropriate for every patient,” said Platt. “So the only way to ensure the best outcome for patients is to treat their condition using a mix of clinical interventions which may or may not include medicinal cannabis, rather than to lead on offering medicinal cannabis almost as the first option.”