According to the health minister, the usage of medicinal cannabis has to be reviewed.
Simon Harris announced that the organization that regulates questions about medicines, Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), was asked to recheck the benefits of the drug. It may have some useful effect on certain people with certain medical conditions. The use of this drug, like many others, does need to be reviewed from time to time so that it can be assessed on its effectiveness. People who suffer from a variety of ailments will look at ways that they can support their system through these times. This can come in the form of things like medical cannabis, as well as vitamin k drops, supplements, and so on for more ‘natural’ based products if they do not want to go straight for prescribed medicines, however, with cannabis there has been a lot of discussion over the years about how to handle it.
According to the message, the question is not about decriminalizing the usage of the drug at all. The request was sent to check and review the current medical policies and to seek new information about the potential of the drug. It may have some medical benefits unknown to us yet. Upon further research, if the plant is found to help people with their health, then medical grade cannabis might see the light of day with a decriminalized status. This could enable hundreds of people currently suffering, to buy the plant in various forms like dry herb, oil, and edibles online or locally, enabling them to use it as therapy to heal themselves.
Mr Harris may have a second meeting with a mother of 6-year old Ava who uses legal cannabidiol oil to fight her disease. She suffers from Dravet syndrome, which is a type of epilepsy that causes seizures very often. The girl needs a 24/7 care while using the oil, and it’s bought legally as a hemp product. However, if cannabis were to be legalized, there would be so many more options when it can to consuming this product. For example, spoon pipes or bongs could be used and this method of administering cannabis may be more effective than cannabis oils.
“I know that many patients believe cannabis should be a treatment option for their medical condition,” Mr Harris, of Aghabullogue, Co Cork, said. “However, cannabis is not currently an authorised medicine and has not gone through the normal regulatory procedures for medicines which are designed to protect patients and ensure treatments are supported by good evidence of their effectiveness.”
Billy Kelleher, the Fianna Fail spokesman on health, said that his party would support medicinal use of the drug if the procedures followed were the same as those used when the HPRA authorised sativex, a cannabis base treatment for multiple sclerosis, in 2012.
“If this path was followed, we would have no difficulty with cannabis-based medicines being prescribed to alleviate suffering,” Mr Kelleher said. “It should be strictly controlled and the use of cannabis and cannabis-related products for medicinal purposes should be regulated like other medicines and only be prescribed by a medical cannabis doctor.”
Sinn Fein did not advocate any change in the law for medicinal use. “Our final position will be guided by our commitment to individual and community harm reduction,” a spokesman said.
The Labour Party said it supported any product once it was approved by the HPRA. The Green Party has called for the decriminalisation of cannabis for personal use and legalisation for medicinal use.
Cannabis for medical purposes is available in several countries, including the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Canada, Australia, Malta, Croatia and certain states in the US.