Location: Sunday 06 Oct 2002 > National news

Dagga helps patients with severe pain
© The Telegraph, London

Low doses of dagga can relieve severe pain for people with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries, the largest clinical trial into the drug in the UK has found.

Tests on three medicines derived from the plant helped 28 out of 34 patients.
GW Pharmaceuticals, the company given a licence by the government to grow dagga in Britain and run clinical trials, said none of the patients had responded well to conventional drugs.

Dr Willy Notcutt, of the James Paget Hospital, Great Yarmouth, who is running the trial, said: "Given the previously intractable nature of their pain symptoms, the improvements provided by cannabis-based medicines are all the more remarkable.

"Many of those with chronic pain also suffer from a poor quality of sleep, which over time can have profoundly negative effects on them and their families. By bringing about improvements in their sleep regime, as well as their pain, we can have a major positive impact on their quality of life."

Patients were given three drugs containing cannabinoids, the active ingredients in the dagga plant.