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Government examining whether to approve cannabis-based drug

Minister Róisín Shortall has said the Department of Health is looking at the issues involved in controlling the sale of medical marijuana products.

Medical marijuana clone plants at a dispensary in California (File photo)
Medical marijuana clone plants at a dispensary in California (File photo)
Image: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

THE GOVERNMENT IS examining whether to allow cannabis-based drugs to be prescribed and dispensed in Ireland.

Minister of State Róisín Shortall has said the Department of Health is looking at the issues involved in controlling the sale of medical marijuana products to see if it’s feasible to offer the drugs on prescription.

Campaigners argue that marijuana is effective pain relief for illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and can also help to alleviate symptoms.

Responding to a question in the Dáil from Luke Ming Flanagan, Minister of State at the Department of Health Róisín Shortall said that she was aware of the claims of the “possible health benefits of cannabis-based medicinal products”.

“I am aware that Sativex (a cannabis-based medication) is authorised in the UK for the relief of spasm in patients with multiple sclerosis,” the Minister told the Dáil last week.

Accordingly, my Department is examining the issues associated with applying controls, similar to those that apply to other controlled drugs that can be misused, such as morphine and methadone, to cannabis-based medicinal products to permit them to be prescribed and dispensed in Ireland.

Cannabis is currently designated as a controlled drug under Irish legislation which prohibits doctors from prescribing it or other cannabis-based medicinal products.

The Department of Health had initially confirmed last September that it was looking at the introduction of allowing cannabis-based medication on prescription.

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