Medicinal cannabis is about to be made available in Ireland for the first time.
Health Minister Simon Harris will be signing legislation this morning to allow the five-year Medical Cannabis Access Programme to operate.
This pilot will allow medical consultants to prescribe cannabis-based treatments for patients with specific medical conditions who have failed to respond to regular treatments, and pharmacists will also be allowed to dispense them.
The medical conditions include multiple sclerosis, nausea associated with chemotherapy and epilepsy.
Harris first announced the plans more than two years ago, but faced long delays due to issues with finding a quality assured commercial supplier that could export to Ireland.
Harris emphasised that despite the new pilot programme “there are no plans to legalise cannabis in this country”.
He continued, “The purpose of this programme is to facilitate compassionate access to cannabis for medical reasons, where conventional treatment has failed.”
“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.”