1. Why is medicinal cannabis research needed?
Both anecdotes from patients and small clinical studies suggest cannabis could provide significant medical benefits to patients by relieving a range of distressing symptoms such as pain, spasm and bladder dysfuntion, even in patients for whom prescription medicines have failed. The UK regulatory and political authorities have stated that cannabis will only be made available to patients when it has been proven to be safe and efficacious. Research is therefore necessary so that cannabis can become legally available to those who will benefit.
2. What are the aims of the MCRF?
The aims of the MCRF are to improve health by supporting medical research that will lead to cannabis becoming legally available to patients in need.
The MCRF also aims to raise public awareness and to provide information to patients, carers, health professionals and the public.
3. When was the MCRF set up?
The Medicinal Cannabis Research Foundation was established in May 1999 and was granted Registered Charity status in August 1999.
4. How can I contact the MCRF?
The Medicinal Cannabis Research Foundation (MCRF)
3, Edgar Buildings
Tel: 0845 087 8700 (local call rate)
Email us:[email protected]
5. Who supports the MCRF financially?
We receive no government funding and as a new charity we have no assets from which to derive a stream of income. The amount of research we are able to fund is entirely dependent on the generosity of our supporters, so please take some time to consider the ways you can help.
How to help
6. How does the MCRF raise money?
The MCRF has to date raised money from charitable trusts with similar interests to ours and from a donation of £50,000 from GW Pharmaceuticals Ltd, who are developing cannabis based medicines. We also receive donations from individual supporters and it is our hope that some of those who support medicinal cannabis in principle will help us in practice by considering a donation or other ways to help.
7. How much money does the MCRF need to raise?
Our immediate aim is to finish raising the £106,176 for a clinical trial to assess the use of cannabis based medicines to treat bladder dysfunction in advanced multiple sclerosis.
More information on clinical trial
Once the remainder has been raised we will continue to fundraise for other projects, which will include the clinical trial of cannabis medicines in relieving the pain experienced by people with spinal cord injuries which we hope to carry out as a collaboration with another Registered Charity called The Inspire Foundation.
More information on Spinal Cord Injury
There are many medical conditions where significant benefit from cannabis has been reported by patients using cannabis illegally. For many of these patient groups existing medicines offer little relief from debilitating and distressing symptoms. The amount of research that we can support is limited only by the amount of funds we can raise so if you can help please do consider it.
8. Is the MCRF willing to work with other charities?
Yes absolutely. We are very keen to work with other charities with common objectives as this enables us to share expertise and avoid costly duplication of research. We are particularly keen to work with charities specialising in helping people with the medical conditions which patients report cannabis can help as this enables sharing of expertise and makes it easier to attract funding for projects.
The MCRF is currently working with The Inspire Foundation to set up a trial of cannabis medicines to relieve the pain caused by spinal cord injury. If you are involved with another charity which might be interested in collaborating with us to set up a trial of cannabis into the medical condition you aim to help please do contact us.
9. What kind of projects does the MCRF fund?
The MCRF would like to fund research into all aspects of medicinal cannabis use but the Trustees have decided that all projects to be funded in the short term are most likely to be medical research projects. Although the Trustees acknowledge the importance of other related research, such as sociological studies of medicinal cannabis use, it is felt that priority must go to that research most likely to lead to cannabis becoming legally available to patients in need as soon as possible.
More information on projects
10. How does the MCRF decide which projects to fund?
The MCRF has very limited funds so for every project the Trustees approve, the funds have to be raised to pay for it. The MCRF only funds high quality research that will make a valuable to contribution to our knowledge of the safety and benefits of medicinal cannabis. Every grant application received is reviewed and those deemed of potential interest are sent to our Scientific Advisors for assessment on the grounds of need, quality of research and cost-effectiveness. The Trustees then decide which projects to fund taking in to consideration the comments made by the advisors.
Full details of the MCRF grant application procedure
11. Does the MCRF have any publications/factsheets?
Not yet but further information is available from the UK Medicinal Cannabis Project website and from the websites listed on our links page.
12. Does the MCRF encourage the illegal use of cannabis?
No. The MCRF neither encourages nor condones the illegal use of cannabis. It should be remembered that the use of cannabis is still illegal even if used for medicinal purposes unless as part of a clinical trial which has the appropriate regulatory permission.
13. What is the MCRF’s approach to the recreational use of cannabis?
As a medical research charity the MCRF is concerned only with the medicinal use of cannabis and has no opinion or policy concerning the recreational use of cannabis. We believe the issues of medicinal and recreational cannabis use to be separate.
14. What is the relationship between the MCRF and the UK Medicinal Cannabis Project?
The MCRF is a member of the UK Medicinal Cannabis Project, an umbrella for organisations and individual researchers committed to developing non-smoked cannabis-based medicines for a wide variety of conditions with a view to making these medicines available to patients as soon as possible.
15. What is a Registered Charity?
The MCRF is a Registered Charity (Reg Charity No. 1077123). To obtain Registered Charity status an organisation is vetted in detail by the Charity Commission for England & Wales who assess the charity to ensure the organisation’s objects are wholly charitable and the Charity is run by suitable people in an appropriate manner.
It is essential that the public have confidence in the integrity of the charities to which they give and the Registered Charity system is designed to provide this with the Charity Commission “policing” the charitable sector. If a charity is suspected of inappropriate activities or a complaint is made against it, the Charity Commission will carry out a detailed investigation.
Registered Charity status shows that the Charity Commission approves of a charity and has vetted its activities. It is especially helpful for the MCRF as it proves that our research is legal even though it involves cannabis. Being a Registered Charity also enables both the MCRF and donors to benefit from tax effective schemes such as Payroll Giving and Gift Aid by reclaiming tax from the Inland Revenue.