From next month, Ireland’s first medicinal cannabis product will be made available through the HSE.
CannEpil, a CBD-based medication, will be made available in Ireland as part of its Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP).
This decision comes after the Department of Health made the taking of medicinal cannabis part of its health service this year.
It’s available to a limited number of patients and can only be accessed with the correct prescription from a consultant.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly secured funding for the programme back in January and outlined how medicinal cannabis would be accessed by patients through the HSE.
As cannabis is a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act, Fine Gael TD Bernard Durkan questioned if the system is “sufficiently firewalled” to prevent medicinal cannabis from falling into the wrong hands.
Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) chief Lorraine Nolan stated that the regulator has expressed satisfaction towards the system being in line with the recommendations that it made in 2017.
Nolan stated, “In the first instance these MCAP products are not medicines in the conventional sense that you and I would know medicine,” while adding, “These patients have to have exhausted all of the available options.”
Every patient that’s put on the programme has to be initiated by a consultant and then there is a treatment programme that has to be put into their medical record.
“That really sets out the background to the decision to introduce them onto the programme, the product that they’re going to use and their dosage.”
Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny, who has been a strong advocate for the use of medicinal cannabis in Ireland stated, “People will be scratching their head and saying: ‘Why has this taken so long for this process to begin?” while adding, “The good news is that the process is beginning in a few weeks under prescription.”
IMAGE (Right) – Stephen Donnelly (via Twitter)