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HPRA to review Ireland’s medicinal cannabis policy

Minister for Health Simon Harris said he wanted the HPRA to provide him with its expert scientific advice.

“This is not a discussion about decriminalising cannabis in any way shape or form, it is about reviewing our current policy and seeking to inform ourselves of the latest medical and scientific evidence on the potential medical benefits of cannabis for some people with certain medical conditions,” said the Minister in a statement.

The Oireachtas Health Committee is also planning to discuss this issue later this month.

“I know that many patients believe cannabis should be a treatment option for their medical condition,” said Minister Harris.

“However, cannabis is not currently an authorised medicine and has not gone through the normal regulatory procedures for medicines which are designed to protect patients and ensure treatments are supported by good evidence of their effectiveness”

Cannabis for medical purposes is available in a number of countries, eg. Netherlands, Czech Republic, Canada, Australia, Malta, Croatia and certain states in the United States. However it remains strictly controlled in Ireland. In the countries where it is available, it is strictly regulated but available on prescription from doctors and supplied in a standardised form through pharmacists.

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