Real World Evidence in Medical Cannabis Research
Background: Whilst access to cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) has increased globally subject to relaxation of scheduling laws globally, one of the main barriers to appropriate patient access remains a paucity of high-quality evidence surrounding their clinical effects.
Discussion: Whilst randomised controlled trials (RCTs) remain the gold-standard for clinical evaluation, there are notable barriers to their implementation. Development of CBMPs requires novel approaches of evidence collection to address these challenges. Real world evidence (RWE) presents a solution to not only both provide immediate impact on clinical care, but also inform well-conducted RCTs. RWE is defined as evidence derived from health data sourced from non-interventional studies, registries, electronic health records and insurance data. Currently it is used mostly to monitor post-approval safety requirements allowing for long-term pharmacovigilance. However, RWE has the potential to be used in conjunction or as an extension to RCTs to both broaden and streamline the process of evidence generation.
Conclusion: Novel approaches of data collection and analysis will be integral to improving clinical evidence on CBMPs. RWE can be used in conjunction or as an extension to RCTs to increase the speed of evidence generation, as well as reduce costs. Currently, there is an abundance of potential data however, whilst a number of platforms now exist to capture real world data it is important the right tools and analysis are utilised to unlock potential insights from these.
Keywords: Cannabidiol; Cannabis; Cannabis-based medicinal products; Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol; Medicinal Cannabis; Real world evidence.