Author: Shirley Creagh

cannabis & epilepsy

Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy

Does Medical Cannabis & Epilepsy go together? Epilepsy Ireland describes epilepsy as a neurological disorder which affects the brain. It is a tendency to have repeated seizures. This tendency can be long term, but the seizures can be controlled meaning that a person can have epilepsy but may not have active seizures. Seizures can start in a part of the brain or happen on both sides of the brain at once. Approximately one-third of patients with epilepsy have seizures that are resistant to antiepileptic medications.

Read more here: https://www.epilepsy.ie/content/epilepsy-explained

What is Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis is a broad term for cannabis-based medicine that is used to relieve symptoms of certain conditions. The cannabis plant contains more than 100 different chemicals named cannabinoids, with each one producing a different effect on the endocannabinoid system in the body. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main cannabinoids used in medicinal cannabis in Ireland. Medical cannabis and epilepsy have a long history, with some evidence to suggest it was used in medieval times as a treatment. Medical cannabis is available in Ireland for treatment-resistant epilepsy. 

You can find out all about Medical Cannabis here.

An Overview of Cannabis & Epilepsy Research

One of the first successful trials for cannabis and epilepsy was conducted in 1978 by Mechoulam and Carlini. Patients were given 200mg of CBD daily for three months. The findings of the study show that half of the patients had no seizures during the three months of the trial, with no side effects reported. 

In 1980 Cunha et al conducted a further study on the relationship between cannabis and epilepsy. Patients were given 20-300mg of CBD daily for up to 18 weeks. Half of the patients remained seizure-free during the trial, with the remainder of patients finding they had a partial improvement in their symptoms. 

In 2016 Devinsky focussed on the treatment-resistant condition Dravet Syndrome. Dravet syndrome is a complex childhood epilepsy disorder that is associated with drug-resistant seizures and a high mortality rate. 120 children and young adults were part of this trial and received CBD Oil for epilepsy at a dose of 20 mg per kilogram of body weight per day. The study concluded that among patients with Dravet syndrome, cannabidiol resulted in a reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency, with 5 % becoming seizure-free. 

There are many forms of treatment-resistant epilepsy that can be helped with medical cannabis. Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome is a rare form of epilepsy that affects 2 per 100,000 people. Affected children experience several different types of seizures most commonly atonic, tonic, and atypical absence seizures. Children with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome may also develop cognitive dysfunction, delays in reaching developmental milestones and behavioural problems. Lennox-Gastaut syndrome can be difficult to treat because it is resistant (refractory) to many kinds of antiseizure medications. Devinsky enrolled 225 patients to receive cannabidiol oral solution at a dose of either 20 mg or 10 mg per kilogram of body weight or a placebo over the course of 14 weeks. The study showed those receiving 10 or 20 mg doses had a reduction in the frequency of seizures vs. the placebo group. The study concluded that among children and adults with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome cannabis, in particular, CBD oil was effective at reducing seizure frequency in the treatment of epilepsy. 

How does a person qualify for the use of Medical Cannabis? 

To qualify for the Medical Cannabis Access Programme for cannabis treatment for epilepsy, a person must suffer from severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy. A patient will be permitted to access cannabis treatment for epilepsy when the patient has failed to respond to standard treatment.  You can take our eligibility checker to see if you are eligible to qualify for the Medical Cannabis Access Programme. 

Medical Cannabis Access Programme 

On 26th June 2019, the Minister for Health signed legislation to allow for the operation of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP) on a pilot basis for five years.

The MCAP enables a medical consultant to prescribe a cannabis-based treatment for a patient under his or her care for the following medical conditions, where the patient has failed to respond to standard treatments:

You can read all about the Medical Cannabis Access Programme here.

Register as a Patient Today.

Types of Epilepsy 

Epilepsy can be classified into four main categories: focal, generalised, combined focal and generalised, and unknown. If a patient experiences two or more unexplained seizures, a doctor will typically make the diagnosis of epilepsy.

The majority of individuals with epilepsy receive medication, and as a result, two-thirds of them live seizure-free lives. For one-third of adults, medication is ineffective in managing their seizures. Although it is rare for epilepsy to go away on its own, seizures can be controlled with the right treatment. Epilepsy does not have to prevent you from leading a normal, fulfilling life.

Marijuana and Epilepsy 

According to the research, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most well-known active component of cannabis, is just one of a number of compounds that have been found to have medical properties. Cannabidiol (CBD), another compound non-psychoactive, is becoming one of the most well-known compounds in the treatment of epilepsy. 

How does THC affect people with Epilepsy? 

Both THC and CBD are in a group of substances called cannabinoids. They bind to receptors in the brain and are effective at managing conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. While there is a mounting consensus among people with epilepsy that medicinal cannabis is effective, like all medications there can be side effects. 

CBD for Epilepsy 

Beyond seizure management alone, CBD medicines have the potential to address problems of the nervous system that cause seizures. According to the studies above, CBD has resulted in patients becoming seizure-free or drastically reducing the frequency of seizures leading them to live a full and normal life.  

How to take Cannabis for Epilepsy 

Working with a doctor when using medical cannabis to treat seizures is very important. Your doctor can help determine if medical cannabis will interact with any of your current medications and if it best suits your condition. 

Are there any side effects? 

Side effects might also depend on how the drug is taken. Smoking it would pose a risk to the lungs while eating it would not. Talk to your doctor if you are suffering from epileptic seizures and are not responding to traditional treatments. They can explain your options and provide information about medical cannabis treatment for epilepsy. The most common side effects of CBD include:

  • sleepiness
  • drowsiness
  • diarrhoea
  • loss of appetite

Is Medical Cannabis legal? 

Medical cannabis is available for treatment-resistant epilepsy under the Medical Cannabis Access Programme. You may be open to prosecution if you obtain cannabis without a valid prescription. 

Read more on: Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Ireland

Conclusion 

Medical cannabis and epilepsy have a long history together. In more recent years research has unlocked its potential as an epilepsy treatment. Studies have shown medical cannabis can result in patients living seizure free life, or drastically reducing their seizures resulting in a better quality of life.  If you suffer from treatment-resistant epilepsy you may qualify for medical cannabis under the MCAP programme. 

prescription for medical cannabis

Medical Cannabis Ireland: All about Medical Marijuana

Medical cannabis is a broad term for cannabis-based medicine that is used to relieve symptoms of certain conditions. The cannabis plant contains more than 100 different chemicals named cannabinoids, with each one producing a different effect on the endocannabinoid system in the body. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two main cannabinoids used in medicinal cannabis in Ireland.

How is Cannabis used Medically?

There is evidence to suggest medical cannabis can be helpful in the management of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain; spasticity; nausea and vomiting, particularly in the context of chemotherapy; and in the management of anxiety.

Further evidence also moderates evidence that medical cannabis can be beneficial in treating sleep disorders; appetite stimulation in the context of chemotherapy; fibromyalgia; post-traumatic stress disorder; and for some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

How does it help?

Medical cannabis treatment may help in several areas:

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24778283/

https://bedrocan.com/wp-content/uploads/adding-medical-cannabis-to-standard-analgesic-treatment-giorgi_2020.pdf

Medical Cannabis Access Programme

In June 2019 the Minister for Health launched the Medical Cannabis Access Programme to be operational on a pilot basis for five years. The programme will help facilitate access to medicinal cannabis for suitable candidates.

The programme makes it possible for a consultant to prescribe medicinal cannabis for a number of conditions, where a patient has failed to respond to traditional pharmaceutical treatments.
Currently, three conditions qualify under the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme.

The Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme is currently under review by the Department of Health.

Register as a Patient Today.

Difference between Marijuana and Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis is prescribed by a consultant doctor who understands which product would be most medically beneficial for their patient. Marijuana or cannabis bought from unlicensed sources without a prescription is currently illegal in Ireland.

Hemp Vs. Marijuana Vs. CBD

Hemp , Marijuana and CBD all come from the same species, the Cannabis Sativa plant although variations can exist. The defining difference is their THC content. Hemp has a low THC volume, commonly below 0.3% THC meaning it does not produce the same psychoactive effect.

Hemp is ordinarily used for industrial purposes such as textiles but also produce CBD. Marijuana on the other hand is a high-THC variation of the Cannabis Sativa plant.

What are the common uses of Medical Cannabis?

The most common uses of medical cannabis in Ireland are limited to the three conditions listed above. Namely, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis and nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy.

Intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy
Nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy are common side effects of treatment. Medical cannabis for cancer patients has been shown to alleviate these symptoms. Considerable evidence demonstrates that manipulation of the endocannabinoid system regulates nausea and vomiting in humans. According to randomised research, medicinal cannabis is more effective than traditional medication for treating nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy.

Severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy.
Approximately one-third of patients with epilepsy have seizures that are resistant to antiepileptic medications. Traditionally CBD was seen as the most effective cannabinoid for drug-resistant epilepsy, although recent studies have found that for medical cannabis treatment for epilepsy “whole-plant medical cannabis products are superior to isolated CBD products in patients” and can result in a reduction in the frequency of seizures.

Spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis
60-84% of multiple sclerosis patients experience spasticity. When severe, it can be extremely challenging in terms of mobility. Studies have shown that cannabis treatment for multiple sclerosis can show an improvement in spasticity measures in over half of the patients treated. Research conducted with 279 people with MS in the UK showed the relief from muscle stiffness for those people taking the medical cannabis extract was “almost twice as high than with placebo.

Can I get a prescription for Medicinal Cannabis in Ireland?

Medical cannabis prescriptions are available in Ireland. To obtain a prescription, under the Medical Cannabis Access Programme, a consultant with specialist training in a specified medical condition may prescribe medicinal cannabis to their patient. Cannabis for medical use will only be prescribed once other treatments have failed. The Health Service has issued clinical guidelines to inform consultants.

How do I get a medical cannabis card?

Oleo launched its Medical Cannabis Card in November 2022. The Oleo Medical Cannabis Card will be the same size as other cards in your wallet. It will contain your photo and the details of your medical cannabis prescription including your Cannabis for Medical Use Register (CMUR) number. You can find all the details about the card and how to apply here.

How much Medical Cannabis will I be provided?

We cannot determine how much medicinal cannabis will be provided to the patient. This will be dependent on the patient’s condition and the severity of their symptoms. This aspect is best discussed with your consultant.

Different methods to consume Medical Marijuana

Depending on the medical marijuana product you are prescribed there are multiple ways to administer medicinal cannabis.

  • Inhalation: Inhaled cannabis may be the most well-known method of administration for medical cannabis flowers. The main benefit of inhaled cannabis is that the onset of action is practically quick, making it simple for a patient to titrate the dosage for maximal benefit. At Oleo we have developed our Panacea Inhaler which is available to patients prescribed medical cannabis under the Medical Cannabis Access Programme and is also available to buy on Amazon.
  • Sublingual: Sublingual delivery is another option for the administration of oil-based medical cannabis. Medical cannabis oil can have a rapid onset of action by being administered under the tongue or in the oral cavity. The patient feels the effects after a few minute. Other cannabis products may come in a spray bottle that can be sprayed directly into the mouth.
  • Tablet/ Pill format: Cannabinoids are soluble in fat, their absorption through the gut is slower and less predictable, depending on both the metabolism of the individual and the contents of the stomach. Determining an effective dose is more challenging, especially for the inexperienced patient, because the onset of the effect may take up to an hour to occur.

What will be the effects of Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis may aid with pain relief, nausea and vomiting control, inflammation reduction, and inflammation depending on the condition you are trying to treat. Medical cannabis may also interact with other treatments. It is best to discuss this with your Consultant.

Are there any side effects of Medical Cannabis?

Medical cannabis, like all medications, poses a risk of side effects. The type of medical cannabis product, the active chemicals (such as CBD, THC, or a combination), and individual differences can all have a significant impact on side effects. THC-containing products can impair driving and cognitive performance and produce sedation, anxiety, dizziness, appetite stimulation, and other symptoms. Although CBD rarely has significant negative effects on its own, it can change the effects of other prescribed drugs.

Will it Make me feel high?

In many cases, the answer to this is: only if you want to unless the dosage you need is quite high. The doses needed for medical purposes are often significantly lower than what is used recreationally. The most commonly reported adverse reactions in the first four weeks of exposure were dizziness, which occurs mainly during the initial period, and fatigue.

These reactions are usually mild to moderate and resolve within a few days even if treatment is continued.

What is THC? And how is it different from CBD?

THC, known by its scientific name, Tetrahydrocannabinol is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis and one of at least 113 total cannabinoids identified on the plant.

CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is the second most common cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. CBD does not produce any psychoactive effect.

Both CBD and THC are chemically similar to your body’s endocannabinoids. This allows them to interact with your cannabinoid receptors. Although CBD and THC have similar chemical structures, they don’t both have the same psychoactive properties. While CBD is psychotropic, it does so differently than THC. It doesn’t result in a THC-related high. The brain’s cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors bind with THC. It results in a high or euphoric feeling. According to research, this high can be more intense if the THC is inhaled as opposed to consuming.

Is Using Medical Cannabis Legal in Ireland?

Prescribed medical cannabis is legal in Ireland. Cannabis obtained without a valid prescription will fall under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and will be deemed illegal. You can view a breakdown of the laws relating to illegal cannabis here.

Read our similar blog on: Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Ireland

Medical Cannabis Ireland

The availability of medical cannabis prescriptions is relatively new in Ireland. Nonetheless even in its infancy medical cannabis and related research have shown the potential benefits of medical cannabis for alleviating patients’ symptoms across a range of conditions.

The Medical Cannabis Access Programme is currently under review by the Department of Health. The Department of Health has commissioned an evidence review to access scientific research on the efficiency and safety of cannabis-based treatments for a range of conditions The initial stage of the review has been completed. A clinical group will now be convened to access this evidence and provide guidance on any amendments to the Medical Cannabis Access Programme. This is expected early in the new year.

 

Oleo Medical Cannabis card

Medical Cannabis Card by Oleo

Oleo has launched an Oleo Medical Cannabis ID Card for patients of medical cannabis in Ireland. Launch in November 2022 it’s a welcome development in how to approach medical cannabis in Ireland.

Why a Medical Cannabis Card?

An Oleo Medical Cannabis Card will alleviate the need to carry proof of your medical cannabis prescription. It will hold all the necessary details of your prescription on a single card.

What is the OLEO Medical Cannabis Card?

The Oleo Medical Cannabis Card is the same size as other cards in your wallet. It contains your photo and the details of your medical cannabis prescription including your Cannabis for Medical Use Register (CMUR) number. Once you apply for the card it is sent to our HIPAA & GPPR compliant printer provider via a secure file server with names addresses and private details sent separately. Cards will be printed and posted to your home. To ensure the security of patients’ details all information is deleted from the card provider’s server within 48 hours of posting.

Will I be approved for a medical cannabis card for my condition?

If you are a holder of a medical cannabis prescription, you will qualify for an Oleo Medical Cannabis Card.

Medical Marijuana Card benefits?

The Oleo Medical Cannabis Card allows patients to show proof of their medical cannabis prescription in many situations-

  • Concerts
  • Events
  • Road traffic stops

Can I use Medical Marijuana Cards in other countries?

No, The Oleo Medical Cannabis Card is only valid in Ireland. Many countries have their own form of Cannabis ID Cards.

Do all dispensaries accept medical cannabis cards?

No, the card is not recognised by pharmacies dispensing medical cannabis. It cannot be used to collect a medical cannabis prescription.

How do I apply?

Once you are in receipt of a valid medical cannabis prescription you can apply for the Oleo card at Oleo.ie. The process of applying is simple once you have the information needed such as an address, CMUR number, and proof of identification.
Photo guidelines for the card are similar to other forms of ID such as a passport and driving license. We would recommend attending a pharmacy or photo provider that can take your photo and provide it in a digital format. The photo must be accessible on the device you use to apply for the Oleo Card such as your smart phone. Patients can use their phones to take a photo, but it cannot be a selfie or a webcam. We would recommend asking someone to take your photo for you.

Holders of an Oleo Card will have access to Oleo’s online educational platform which focuses on safe and responsible use. Medical cannabis is still a heavily stigmatised subject in Ireland. Patients often fear a reaction from family, friends and wider society. Carrying an Oleo Card can help patients illustrate the normality of medical cannabis and help start conversations with family, friends and employers. The card will also address and reduce the stigma associated with medical cannabis.

Red our similar blog on: Medical Cannabis Ireland

Is Cannabis legal in Ireland

Is weed legal in Ireland is one of the most asked questions. Even though cannabis is one of the most widely used drugs in Ireland, many people are still in the dark when it comes to knowledge about this plant. Cannabis has been illegal in Ireland for almost a century. However, in recent years, public opinion towards cannabis has dramatically changed towards a more positive opinion.

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is a plant genus with three varieties, Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, and Cannabis ruderalis. Many parts of the plant can be used for recreational, therapeutic and/or medical purposes. When the flowers of these plants are harvested and dried what you are left with is the most widely used drug in the world.

Learn more about Cannabis here: Medical Cannabis Ireland

Are weed and cannabis the same?

The terms people use to refer to cannabis can vary widely depending on geographical location. It can be called many names such as marijuana, pot or weed, and are all used to describe the cannabis plant. From a medical standpoint, it is important to refer to it by its correct name, cannabis, to bolster its legitimacy as a medicine and to help combat the societal stigma that is still associated with cannabis.

What is cannabis used for?

Cannabis and different strains of the cannabis plant can be used across a wide variety of sectors. Cannabis can be used as animal feed, textiles, food supplements, used in religious and spiritual ceremonies and most importantly medicine. Interest in medical cannabis has increased over the last number of decades, and today, scientists have discovered over 100 different cannabinoids that may have medicinal properties.

The most researched and known cannabinoids are THC, CBD and CBC. Cannabinoids work by activating cannabinoid receptors in the human body. These receptors are the key components of the human endocannabinoid system, which plays a crucial role in the central nervous system.

Cannabis Laws: A Brief History of the legality of Cannabis

The earliest mention of cannabis in Irish history refers to hemp cultivation. In 1809 the man referred to as the father of medicinal cannabis, William O’Shaughnessy was born in Co. Limerick. Having studied toxicology and chemistry in Scotland, he later travelled to India and became a member of the Medical and Physical Society in Calcutta. There he published one of his first papers on medical applications of cannabis. He validated the uses of cannabis in India, discovered new applications, and ultimately recommended cannabis for a great variety of therapeutic purposes.

Following his research cannabis was widely used across the western world as a medical treatment for a range of conditions. In 1934 the Irish Government passed the Dangerous Drug Act which prohibited cannabis in Ireland. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 continued the prohibition of cannabis as a scheduled drug.

This prohibition continued until it was challenged. In 2016 Vera Twomey began a battle for medical cannabis access for her daughter Ava. Ava was born with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet’s Syndrome and would have multiple seizures daily. Vera was one of the first people to be granted a Ministerial Licence to import cannabis to Ireland.

Due to the lack of any medical cannabis legislation in Ireland at the time, Vera was permitted to travel to the Netherlands every month to obtain medical cannabis and bring it back to Ireland. In 2020 due to covid restrictions, the Irish Government permitted medical cannabis to be delivered to her home.

Tristian Forde, a 3-year-old boy, was forced to relocate to Colorado with his mother Yvonne so they could access medical cannabis for Tristian’s epilepsy. After a year of treatment and a dramatic reduction in seizures, Tristen came home to Ireland in December 2016 A few days later he became one of the first people to obtain a Ministerial Licence for medical cannabis.

Is Weed Legal in Ireland 2022

Cannabis containing THC is currently illegal in Ireland. As a medical patient, you may be permitted to obtain a prescription for medical cannabis under either the MCAP programme or a Ministerial Licence.  Cannabis obtained without a prescription remains illegal under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977.

CBD, another cannabinoid in cannabis is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid and is not subject to the Misuse of Drugs Act, nor does it require a license or prescription. Cannabis for recreational use is illegal.

Is it legal to smoke weed in Ireland?

Smoking cannabis recreationally is illegal in Ireland. For medical patients smoking cannabis is not recommended as the optimal intake method.

Is it legal to vape weed in Ireland?

It Is recommended that patients who chose inhalation as the method of administration of medical cannabis should use a dry herb vaporiser for flower products.

Is it legal to grow weed in Ireland?

Cannabis cultivation for medical purposes is illegal in Ireland and no licences have been given to date for this activity.  Cannabis cultivation licenses can be awarded by the Minister for Health for analysis and research purposes by the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The Legality of Cannabis Vs. CBD Vs. Hemp

Industrial Hemp can be grown in Ireland, again under a licence that can be obtained from the Health Products Regulatory Authority. There has been an increase in interest in CBD/Hemp farming over the last number of years, with more licences being awarded every year.

Industrial hemp can be legally grown in Ireland under a licence from the Department of Health for a range of uses, including fibre, food and feed. The varieties of hemp permitted are listed in the EU’s ‘Common Catalogue of Varieties of Agricultural Plant Species.

What happens if you are caught with weed Illegally?

Anyone found in possession of cannabis may find themselves in receipt of a criminal conviction. The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 states a person may receive a criminal conviction, a fine or imprisonment for possession of cannabis.

More recently the Adult Caution Scheme was expanded to include personal possession of cannabis. If the Garda determines the individual should avoid criminal prosecution, they may issue a caution. This scheme is based on Gardai discretion and does not apply in every case.

What about medical cannabis?

There may be a possibility that your medical cannabis will be confiscated if you cannot illustrate that it has been legally supplied. Up until now, many patients have resorted to carrying a copy of their prescription with them as proof.

Oleo recently launched the Medical Cannabis Card to aid patients in this regard. It contains your name, photo and your Cannabis for Medical Use Register (CMUR) number. Carrying proof of your prescription can inform the Gardai that the substance is not illegal and avoid confiscation.

Political Parties View on Cannabis

The Green Party’s manifesto titled “Towards 2030” shows the party is committed to reform. They state. “A more compassionate policy based on international best practice can be introduced within existing constraints under international law.” The manifesto also promotes reform with a proposal for Amsterdam-style coffee shops.

The Social Democrats are also committed to reform. Their manifesto “Invest in Better” states the Party believes a “health-based approach, with a focus on harm-reduction and prevention based on international best practice”, is needed.

Fine Gael describes itself as the party of law and order. Their recent manifesto “A Future to Look Forward To”  states they are committed to utilising “key law enforcement strategies to protect people from the harm of illegal drugs.”

Fianna Fáil does not go in-depth with their stance. They simply state “Examine the regulations and legislation that apply to cannabis use for medical conditions and palliative care.”

People Before Profit are one of the few parties to have a dedicated drug policy strategy. They consistently advocate for the expansion of the Medical Cannabis Access Programme to include other conditions such as chronic pain. They also advocate for full cannabis regulation.

Sinn Féin does not mention medical cannabis in their manifesto. Although they do state that “Treatment and rehabilitation strategies will go hand in hand with recovery initiatives that will help to support people in recovery. Sinn Féin supports a holistic approach.”

Can you Fly or Travel with Cannabis in Ireland?

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 regulates any product infused with THC. If you are visiting Ireland, it is illegal for you to import or carry controlled substances (drugs) into Ireland. You must be prescribed medical cannabis under the current schemes either MCAP or Ministerial Licence to be permitted cannabis in Ireland.

How do I Qualify for Medical Cannabis?

Find out if you qualify for the Medical Cannabis Access Programme here.

There are currently two ways to access medical cannabis in Ireland.

Ministerial Licence, the Minister for Health has the power to grant a licence to an Irish-registered medical practitioner (e.g., GP) for access to cannabis-based products for a named patient under their care.   For the minister to approve an application it must be supported by a specialist consultant. There are no specified conditions to qualify for a Ministerial Licence.

Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP), The MCAP enables a medical consultant to prescribe a cannabis-based treatment for a patient under his or her care for the following medical conditions, where the patient has failed to respond to standard treatments: spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy.

Register as a Patient

You can view our detailed blog on Medical Cannabis Access Programme

Conclusion

If you are considering consuming cannabis in Ireland, it is important to know that cannabis is only permitted for those who carry a valid Irish Medical Cannabis Prescription.

Medical Cannabis Access Programe

Dublin man becomes first patient in Ireland to be prescribed medicinal cannabis

In November 2021, Ryan Gorman (26) was the first patient in Ireland to be granted a prescription for medical cannabis through the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP).  Ryan has an aggressive form of epilepsy as well as Autism Spectrum Disorder.  He received the high CBD, low THC formula which is approved by the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS), making it free of charge.

Ryan’s father and full-time carer, Brendan Gorman spoke with BusinessCann and shared his joy on this major milestone:

“For those people out there that have been waiting so anxiously to see when I’m gonna get access to it, finally the day has arrived. It can only be described as wonderful news, and hopefully, the benefits will be there for everybody,” he said.

“It’s not about being first or being last or in the middle. What is important is that if it becomes accessible, and the barriers are broken down, it’s almost like the Berlin Wall, one goes through then the rest will follow.”

Health Minster Stephan Donnelly announced in July 2021 that medical consultants can register themselves and their patients to the MCAP through the HSE.  Patients will need to be registered before they can be prescribed cannabis-based products.  Minister Donnelly said when announcing the start of the programme:  “Today is a significant step forward in the ongoing delivery of the MCAP.

“This step forward will greatly assist patients who, under the supervision of their consultant, need to avail of medicinal cannabis products to alleviate the effects of their severe medical conditions.

“I now hope the programme continues to go on and grow and expand further, to best meet the needs of patients and families around Ireland.”

Under MCAP only a consultant can prescribe medical cannabis where conventional treatment has failed.  A poll carried out by Red C on behalf of The Journal early last year found that only 4 per cent of people were opposed to the use of medical cannabis.  Almost 1,000 adults across Ireland took part in the survey,  they weighted to be an accurate profile of the population.

The programme is only available to patients with the following medical conditions: spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy and treatment-resistant epilepsy.

 

The endocannabinoid system and the revolution of one | Rachel Knox | TEDxPortland

DR. RACHEL KNOX, MD, MBA

Dr. Rachel Knox, MD, MBA is a cannabinoid medicine specialist and clinical endocannabinologist who received her medical and business degrees from Tufts School of Medicine after completing her undergraduate studies at Duke. She trained in family and integrative medicine before pursuing additional study in the areas of functional medicine, cannabinology, and endocannabinology.

Along with her family, Dr. Rachel founded Doctors Knox, Inc., American Cannabinoid Clinics, and Pivital Edu to advance education in cannabinoid medicine and in the clinical care of the endocannabinoidome.

Dr. Rachel is also a policy and regulatory consultant on cannabis and psychedelics, and her commitment to reform extends into educating communities of color about the roles cannabis, psychedelics, and other plant medicines can play in addressing the Minority Health Disparity Gap, and the broader way in which these plants can impact the total wellbeing of these communities through health equity.

She is co-founder and president of the Cannabis Health Equity Movement™ (CHEM), and chair of the Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine (ACHEM) and CHEM Allyance. She serves her home state of Oregon as the immediate past chair of the Oregon Cannabis Commission, member of Portland’s Cannabis Policy Oversight Team, member of Oregon’s Psilocybin Advisory Board, and board member for NuLeaf PDX; and also sits on several national boards including Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition (CRCC), Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM), and US Cannabis Council.

 

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