Medisonal and PCCA have formed an exclusive partnership to improve access to medical cannabis across the UK.

Launched as an independent platform, Medisonal will be working with the UK cannabis market to supply the best cannabis-based medicinal products. 

The company is focusing on providing products at reasonable prices with an uninterrupted continuity of supply, allowing doctors and patients to orient themselves across the market without being tied to any manufacturer.

Its new partnership with PCCA, which supports the creation of personalised medicines and innovative products, will enable Medisonal to leverage PCCA’s import infrastructure and licenses. This includes MHRA Specials Manufacturing, Home Office Controlled Drugs Schedule 2 and GPhC Registered Pharmacy.

The Medisonal platform will also be offering free education through its Medisonal Institute of Education which features curated courses with the latest science and insights from experts.

Supplying patients

Medisonal’s platform offers expert scientists, technologists, pharmacists and business developers to improve the amount of quality information available about medical cannabis for doctors, hospitals, patients and regulators. Its overall aim is to create greater transparency throughout the market.

CEO Hana Salussolia says that, due to the way the UK market has evolved, Medisonal recognised there was a lack of agnostic players in the UK cannabis market, with clinics linked to a limited number of manufacturers. This means patients and doctors are limited when it comes to prescribed products.

Salussolia commented: “We did feel that there was a lack of product-agnostic players – that’s just how the market evolved in the UK. It produces some issues and confusion for the newcomers to the market because they might be recommended one thing by one clinic and another by a different clinic. There does seem to be lacking overall understanding of what’s available in the market.”

Salussolia says that Medisonal’s vision is to provide patients and doctors with the best choice of products free of charge.

“We felt it was our mission, because we really care about patient having an informed choice. Our platform is available free of charge to doctors. We hope that by being product agnostic and allowing any product which is legal in UK to be listed there for the doctors, the doctors can choose and understand what’s available. We also allow, on our platform, for them to have educated conversations among themselves.”

Salussolia says that Medisonal is proud to embark on its strategic partnership deal with PCCA: “It is making sure that we do the things the right way, a it allows PCCA to do things at more competitive pricing. 

“However, it’s about the customer service and about being less exposed to the market influences.”

Sharon Clift, MD at PCCA, commented:  “We are very proud to be exclusively partnering with Medisonal.  With our combined knowledge, expertise, and capabilities, our aim is to facilitate patient access to the highest-quality cannabis-based products for medicinal use at the best possible price.

“With the key role medical cannabis will play in improving the quality of life for patients, providing life-changing medicines to help treat a wide range of conditions, we are dedicated to providing healthcare solutions that answer unmet clinical needs with both care and commitment.”

PCCA will have a dual role where it will be importing a variety of medicines, but will also be working with pharmacies so it can dispense the medicine.

“We also noticed a lot of the companies sometimes can try to dictate to patients where to dispense,” said Salussolia. “The patient needs to have the choice, we’re trying to create more choices for the patients on where to collect their medicines.”

Educating doctors

Salussolia points out that the limited education of doctors on medical cannabis means many patients who could benefit from the medicine for conditions such as PTSD and anxiety are unable to access it.

“We realised that, despite some ad hoc courses being available, there was still a certain lack of education. So, Medisonal commenced on the journey to provide free education for doctors,” commented Salussolia. “A lot of the other courses, because of the links of the people who made those courses to manufacturers, some can view as bias. So to help the industry we took it upon ourselves to do independent research for our courses”

Medisonal has carried out research from published papers, interviewing doctors across the globe to curate informative and independent educational courses for doctors free of charge.

“In order for this country to have a proper conversation, we all need to improve our education about the topic via discussing in order for people to again make the correct informed choices,” says Salussolia. 

“That is really the core purpose of Medisonal, to focus on educating and engaging and to be product agnostic to allow a uniform offering of the products available.”

Scientific advisor Laurence Busch Hansen says that the doctors interviewed for Medisonal’s courses have commented that there isn’t a wealth of information on cannabis that can be easily accessed. 

To combat this problem, Medisonal has curated three courses that cover the basics of cannabis science, a course for pain management and the uses of medical cannabis as well as an oncology course, with a gynaecology course to come. 

Busch Hansen said: “We’ve managed to get a huge host of contributors, ranging from specialist doctors to professors from universities who are actively involved in research. We have compiled all of the latest research into one really easy to view, interactive platform where doctors can do our courses in 20 minutes – they can fit it around work and get the information they need to prescribe.

“It’s important that they have easy access to information in order for better conversations to happen between the patient and doctor.”

Cannabinoids for women’s health

With support from PCCA, Medisonal has launched its research and development arm through Liberum Health, focusing on the delivery of medicines to women, an area it highlights has been historically underfunded.

Liberum Health aims to bridge the gender health gap by prioritising women’s health care needs through innovative product design. Medisonal researcher Emma Oreskovic is working on the company’s gynaecology course.

Oreskovic commented: “One of the fascinating things about our course is that there is a lot of specialists for things like endometriosis, dysmenorrhea and polycystic ovarian syndrome, for example. 

“This platform gives specialists the ability to inform other doctors on how to approach patients, and a lot of these more ambiguous approaches for prescribing cannabinoids are going to be corroborated by these specialist opinions. 

“Not only are we going to inform doctors how to prescribe cannabinoids to patients, but we’re also going to do that with reference to pre-existing medications.”

Oreskovic highlights that gynaecology is a difficult topic as it involves two main factors: that a lot of gynaecological diseases are idiopathic, but that they are also influenced by environmental factors.

“We don’t know their exact aetiology,” said Oreskovic. “And if we do this aetiology is multifactorial. So it’s not only genetics, it’s also environmental factors, its consumption patterns. 

“Cannabinoids work on the endocannabinoid system and the reason that they have so much potential is that the system is in control of a variety of biological systems, including those pertaining to the inflammatory system, pain regulation and hormonal regulation. 

“There’s been several studies that have proven that there are several endocannabinoid receptors on things like the ovary that have an effect on when you ovulate and how your menstrual cycle functions.

“A lot of women’s pain is commonly disregarded and they are gonna go through a lot of first-line medications which range from normal non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to opioids. When opioids are used chronically it either leads to addiction or just an unbearable state. 

“This has a lot of women looking for alternatives and one of these alternatives is using cannabinoids.”

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