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Cannabis-based oral spray approved for use in Ireland

However the medicine, which would boost the quality of life of MS sufferers, can’t be made available until the government changes legislation.

Image: Elaine Thompson/AP

THE IRISH MEDICAL Board has approved a cannabis-based spray, which can ease symptoms and significantly improve the quality of life of people suffering from illnesses like multiple sclerosis.

However the Medical Independent reports that the spray cannot be made available in the country until the government changes the current legislation around the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The legislation prohibits the production and possession of cannabis-based medicines in the same way as cannabis itself. The Department of Health has indicated that it will put forward proposals to change the law by the middle of 2013 but has said that it will be complex as it is wary of watering down drugs legislation.

It is estimated that between 10 and 30 per cent of MS patients in Europe smoke cannabis to ease the pain and other disabling symptoms of the disease and the Medical Independent reports that many sufferers in Ireland, waiting for the Sativex spray to become available, feel they have no option but to source it illegally.

Though it is not understood exactly how the chemicals in the medicine work, MS Ireland has said that many of the 8,000 people in Ireland who suffer from the disease could benefit from it.

Read the full story on the Medical Independent>

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