CA Clinics study gives hope to patients with chronic pain

CA Clinics study gives hope to patients with chronic pain

New research conducted through the CA Clinics’ national network has offered promising results for patients experiencing chronic pain that is resistant to other treatments.

The study, sponsored by Little Green Pharma, is the first of its kind in Australia to evaluate locally-made GMP medicinal cannabis products for the management of chronic refractory pain.

Findings from the CA Clinics research have been peer-reviewed and published in the international scientific journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids

Findings show improvements in chronic pain scores

This research provides promising results for long-suffering patients with pain and is the first of its kind using Australian-made, GMP cannabis medicines.

The study included 151 participants with common chronic pain conditions including arthritis, neuropathic pain and other musculoskeletal pain who had tried other pain therapies and failed to see improvement. Patients receiving LGP Classic 10:10 (with a balanced ratio of THC and CBD) were monitored for an average observational period of 133 days.

The observational, open-label study found almost half of all patients benefitted from oral medicinal cannabis. 47.9% of patients reported a statistically significant improvement in pain impact scores**, suggesting an improvement in their quality of life, which is ultimately what matters to patients affected by chronic pain. The majority of patients also reported meaningful improvements in sleep (49.3%) and fatigue (35.6%), two common problems for those with chronic pain.

Results highlight medicinal cannabis as a chronic pain treatment

Chronic pain affects can negatively impact a person’s quality of life including their sleep patterns, social engagement, as well as their ability to work and conduct daily activities. It can also cause emotional distress and lead to serious mental health problems including depression.

About 1 in 5 Australians suffer from chronic pain. Pain is regarded as chronic when it does not go away and is experienced by a patient on most days of the week for at least 3 months. A slightly higher proportion of females’ report having chronic pain than males do. Almost two-thirds of people with chronic pain report that their pain interferes with their daily activities1

Commenting on the results, LGP Head of Research and Innovation and study author Dr Leon Warne said:

“LGP is extremely pleased with these results that show the Classic 10:10 formulation has been scientifically validated and demonstrated a significantly positive effect on the impact of chronic refractory pain.”

“This study is important as it provides an option for those patients who have not had success with other pain therapies and gives doctors some vital research they’ve been requesting since medicinal cannabis was legalised.”

Tolerability and safety of medicinal cannabis

The CA Clinics study also assessed the safety, tolerability, and self-reported effectiveness of the pharmaceutical-grade cannabis product (LGP Classic 10:10) in relieving pain and other symptoms in adult patients diagnosed with chronic pain resistant to other treatments.

The severity analysis revealed the majority of adverse events (AEs) reported were mild. Somnolence (sleepiness) and dry mouth/throat were the most common AEs experienced and no severe adverse effects were reported within the observational period for this cohort of patients. This proportion of AEs is consistent with existing studies of registered medicinal cannabis products3,4 and analgesics.

Patients and experts welcome the new findings

Dr Mark Hardy M.B.,B.S., FRACGP, FAChAM (RACP), from CA Clinics, said:
“This research demonstrates the real-world impact of medicinal cannabis. In the study, patient-reported pain impact scores were significantly reduced across the entire patient group, and the majority of patients saw meaningful improvements in sleep and fatigue, which is impactful given the difficult, unmanageable nature of their pain. This underscores the importance of ensuring that patients have access to affordable, reliable and quality medicinal cannabis.”

Jenni Garland (NSW), fibromyalgia patient taking LGP Classic 10:10 said:
“I wasn’t able to control my intense nerve pain with prescription medication and had to give up working full time and the hobbies that I loved. Since taking medicinal cannabis my life has changed. I am able to walk and stand for long periods of time, I can exercise and enjoy my art and craft. I have my life back.”

Dr Joe Kosterich (MBBS), Medical Advisor at LGP said:
“Studies such as this, led by researchers using quality, Australian made medicinal cannabis, is what we want to continue to see to increase confidence amongst GPs in prescribing medicinal cannabis.”

Justin James, HIF CEO – HIF and Little Green Pharma said:
“Since medicinal cannabis was legalised more than 400,000 scripts have been written for patients by 715 authorised practitioners. HIF was very proud to be the first major private health insurer to publicly declare support for medicinal cannabis and one of the first to offer rebates for treatments under our Extras policies. This study reinforces the importance of alternative treatments for helping to ease chronic pain and the benefits of ongoing research into the efficacy of medicinal cannabis”

Learn more about how medicinal cannabis can help manage pain

Are you suffering from chronic pain? Our experienced clinicians can provide advice about whether medicinal cannabis could help you. Contact us at [email protected] if you’d like more information, or register here.

*Pain that persists for at least three months and for which other pain management therapies have failed

** Pain impact scores were determined through survey data, asking patients to report how much pain interfered with day-to-day activities, such as doing household chores and participating in social activities

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