Medical cannabis programme to begin in Ireland this year
"It is important to state that there are no plans to legalise cannabis in this country.”
Funding has been made available for a programme to provide cannabis-based medical products to patients in Ireland.
The programme, which will begin later this year the Department of Health said, will be added to the HSE Service Plan 2021.
Legislation underpinning the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme was enacted in June 2019 and four products have been approved with more currently being assessed.
“The Budget in October 2020 saw an extra €4billion added to the Health Budget," Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said.
"This increase is indicative of how determined we in Government are to fund an expansion of, and improvements in, our health and social care services.
“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 Service Plan for 2021.
“The purpose of this Programme is to facilitate compassionate access to cannabis for medical reasons, where conventional treatment has failed. It follows the clear pathway laid out by the Health Products Regulatory Authority in their expert report ‘Cannabis for Medical Use – A Scientific Review’.
“Ultimately it will be the decision of the medical consultant, in consultation with their patient, to prescribe a particular treatment, including a cannabis-based treatment, for a patient under their care. It is important to state that there are no plans to legalise cannabis in this country.”
Once suitable medical cannabis products are made available by suppliers, the Access Programme will make it possible for a medical consultant to prescribe a listed cannabis-based treatment for a patient under his or her care for the following medical conditions, where the patient has failed to respond to standard treatments:
- spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis
- intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy
- severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy.