Ireland Takes Care of Its Most Vulnerable Medical Cannabis Patients

Soft Secrets
21 Dec 2020

In Ireland, medical cannabis is available for cancer patients, patients with Multiple Sclerosis, and severe forms of epilepsy.

Medical cannabis users in Ireland no longer need to travel to the Netherlands to buy their medicine like they used to do after Irish officials announced a permanent pandemic measure that will allow patients to order Dutch medical cannabis products.

Due to a ban on exporting cannabis oil out of the Netherlands, cannabis patients or their family members were forced to make the trip to the country so they could pick up the medicine. So, suffice to say the pandemic has made it hard for patients outside Holland to get their medication.

However, even though Dutch authorities forbid commercial exportation of cannabis oil, the country allows prescriptions from EU states to be filled, the report says. As a temporary solution, a delivery service was set up from April to aid patients of licensed clinicians to get their prescription.

However, Irish health Minister Stephen Donnelly has in December confirmed the news that the measure will become permanent.

The health minister is an outspoken supporter of the change as beneficial to the wellbeing of patients and safety for those having to travel abroad.

"Many patients and their families have shared stories with both me and officials in my Department about how this initiative has made a huge improvement to their lives," the minister told The Irish Post.

"They spoke about the stress of having to travel regularly and the associated health risks with that, as well as their concerns that they would run out of their medication," the minister said.

The medical cannabis program - which was launched in 2019 and signed by the health minister as a five-year pilot, allows access for patients with just three conditions: severe and treatment-resistant epilepsy, spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.

In Ireland, there are currently 30 physicians licensed to write a prescription and make program recommendations. Following the submission from the doctor responsible for the patient, the Department of Health grants a license. The doctor is then responsible to monitor the medical cannabis treatment effects on their patient.

"There will no longer be a need for them to travel abroad in order to collect their prescribed cannabis products. Instead, they can focus on their health and wellbeing," said the health minister.

"The welfare of patients and their families comes first, and I am happy to reassure them that they will no longer have to personally source their prescriptions,” he said.

Department of Health officials are in the process of finalizing arrangements with Holland on details regarding the delivery and collection of the medicine.

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