At the end of last week the Irish government legalised medicinal cannabis, and said that they would support research financially.
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, announced funding for a programme which will see specialist clinicians able to prescribe medical cannabis for a handful of conditions. Patients may be prescribed cannabis-based medications for muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and severe forms of epilepsy.
Mr Donnelly said, “One of the improvements in our Health Services that will benefit from this extra funding is the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme which has been added to the HSE [Health Service Executive] Service Plan for 2021. The purpose of this Programme is to facilitate compassionate access to cannabis for medical reasons, where conventional treatment has failed.”
The measures announced exactly parallel those unveiled in the UK, where medical cannabis was legalised in 2018. Cannabis flower will remain prohibited for both medical and recreational purposes, with only licensed cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals being available through the medical cannabis programme.