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.