Medicinal cannabis regulations in weeks

Minister of State to allow prescription of medicines to help people with MS

The regulations will permit the prescribing of cannabis-based medicines to relieve muscle spasm symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis.  Photograph: Michel Porro/Getty Images

The regulations will permit the prescribing of cannabis-based medicines to relieve muscle spasm symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis. Photograph: Michel Porro/Getty Images

 

Regulations to allow for the prescribing of medicinal cannabis for the first time are to be finalised within the next week. The regulations will permit the prescribing of cannabis-based medicines to relieve muscle spasm symptoms in people with multiple sclerosis.

Minister of State for Health Alex White said he was hopeful he would be able to sign the regulations before the end of the week. There were a few legal issues to be ironed out.

An application to allow Sativex, which contains extracts from the leaf and flower of the cannabis plant, to be sold in the Irish market has been received by the Irish Medicines Board.

Mr White told the Oireachtas health committee the Draft Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Regulations were drafted following consultation with experts. They would enable medicines like Sativex to be legally prescribed by doctors and used by patients while maintaining the existing “tight control” on cannabis.

Meanwhile, Minister for Health James Reilly said he was considering making it easier to access epi-pens for use by people suffering major allergic shocks in an emergency. Earlier this year the committee heard from the family of teenager Emma Sloane, who died after being refused an epi-pen while suffering from a major anaphylactic shock.

The Minister said there were “complex considerations” to ensure patient safety was maintained.

“These include the misdiagnosis of anaphylaxis, and the potential adverse implications of incorrect or inappropriate administration of adrenaline.”