Dozens of countries have already legalized cannabis for medical purposes and use it for treating a wide range of illnesses. Ireland is also keeping up with the trend: the country’s Health Products Regulatory Authority has recently issued a report in which it cautiously advises the use of marijuana for a number of medical conditions.
The new scheme allows prescribing cannabis for treatment of several serious conditions, including intractable nausea and epilepsy. The program will last five years and will be monitored by healthcare experts.
The report by the Health Products Regulatory Authority of Ireland (HPRA) also warned about the lack of research data on cannabis safety and effectiveness.
Simon Harris, Ireland’s Minister for Health, remains one of the herb’s supporters. He believes that the report is the first step forward in developing an effective cannabis policy in Ireland. Mr. Harris also told The Guardian that although he wanted to see significant progress in the country’s medical cannabis industry, he still needed to proceed according to the best clinical advice.
Professor Tony O’Brien, chairman of the HRPA, also supports using cannabis products for a limited number of medical ailments. According to The Irish Times, he stated that allowing access to medical marijuana should provide a balance between the lack of scientific evidence of marijuana’s benefits and patient-led demand. He also noted that there was still insufficient data about the long-term effects of cannabis usage. However, the professor believes that cannabis has plenty of potential therapeutic benefits, although it desperately needs more clinical research.