One person has been left brain dead and another five are seriously ill, after taking part in a cannabis drug trial in France. This outcome has shocked the public and medical community alike, making the medicinal marijuana trial even more polarising.
Six male patients aged 28 to 49 years had been in good health before taking the medication, which contained cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the active ingredient in cannabis plants, although French health authorities say their medicine did not contain pure marijuana.
The trial has now been suspended and 80 other volunteers have been called back to hospital, for medical observation. French health authorities have begun a full investigation of the cannabis trial, which had previously been tested on animals.
Australian health experts believe the clinical trial “has sent shockwaves around the world”. Dr Ian Musgrave from the University of Adelaide added, “As yet, we do not have enough information to understand why this drug caused brain damage and death, or why these effects were not seen in preclinical testing of the drug”.
“Serious adverse effects to experimental drugs are exceedingly rare, and this may be the worst ever under modern safety procedures. We don’t know the extent of animal testing for this drug at the moment, but we know that the drug was tested in chimpanzees, in case there were primate specific toxicities that would not be picked up in other animals”, he explained.
The public has been left reeling – particularly people who support medicinal marijuana. As one Facebook user said, “This is what happens when you try to synthesise a natural substance, instead of just giving them cannabis or cannabis extracts that haven’t killed anyone”.
Whilst another person added online, “marijuana is natural, and can handle so many illnesses. Pharmaceutical companies do everything they can to make sure it’s not mass used in the medical field”.