ECH opens UK’s first medical cannabis clinic

ECH is planning a network of medical cannabis centres in the UK
ECH is planning a network of medical cannabis centres in the UK

European Cannabis Holdings (ECH) has opened the UK’s first medical cannabis clinic in Manchester as part of plans to launch a nationwide network of specialist centres.

The clinic, which is adjacent to BMI’s Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle, will provide cannabis-based therapy and prescription cannabinoids for a range of conditions, including chronic pain and neurological disorders as well as psychiatric conditions such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Patients will be able to access treatment following specialist referral in cases where they have exhausted all existing treatment options and medical cannabis has been proven to deliver significant therapeutic benefit.

ECH is due to open another two clinics in Birmingham and London’s Harley Street this Spring under the Medical Cannabis Clinics brand and plans to roll the centres out in other major UK cities.

The move follows the Home Office’s decision to reschedule medical cannabis in November last year. ECH said that despite the change in the law, high barriers to access mean only four patients have successfully accessed cannabis-based therapy via the NHS since the ruling.

ECH clinical director Professor Mike Barnes, who is also one of the world’s foremost experts in medical cannabis, said: ‘Patients suffering from chronic pain and other serious neurological or psychiatric conditions have been crying out for this kind of life-changing treatment. This clinic will represent a lifeline to those who have found other treatments ineffective. This also brings the UK into line with other countries when it comes to pain management. The hope is that over time patients all around the country and not just in Manchester will have access to the relief that they need.’

The Manchester Clinic will be led by independent pain specialist Dr David McDowell, who made history in December when he issued the first prescription for medical cannabis in the UK to treat a patient suffering from the genetic condition Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

Supported by a team of world-leading medical advisors, ECH owns a portfolio of companies aimed at improving access to medical cannabis for eligible patients and facilitated the import of the UK’s first bulk shipment of cannabis-based medicine.

Chief operating officer Hannah Simon said: ‘We are delighted to be supporting the establishment of the Medical Cannabis Clinics in the UK. The legalisation of prescription cannabis has given people with chronic illnesses hope; the next step is to ensure the availability of medical cannabis to offer those without other alternatives the treatment they need.’