Medical cannabis programme to begin this year after funding received

Use of products licensed under scheme can apply where conventional treatments fail

Funding has been made available for a new programme providing cannabis-based medical products to patients to begin later this year, the Department of Health has announced.

Use of products licensed under the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme can apply where conventional treatments are unsuccessful.

The types of conditions that might benefit from such an approach include spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy, and severe, treatment-resistant epilepsy.

On Thursday, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced that the programme would be added to the HSE Service Plan 2021.



“Ultimately it will be the decision of the medical consultant, in consultation with their patient, to prescribe a particular treatment, including a cannabis-based treatment, for a patient under their care. It is important to state that there are no plans to legalise cannabis in this country,” he said.

Once suitable medical cannabis products are provided by suppliers, the Access Programme will make them available to medical consultants to prescribe.

Legislation underpinning the the programme was enacted in June 2019. Four products have been deemed acceptable and further products are currently being assessed.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times