Cannabis, medicine and the law

 

A chara, – Stephen Maguire (November 22nd) writes that cannabis is “the only effective treatment for a handful of conditions”. It’s not entirely clear which conditions he refers to, nor where Mr Maguire is sourcing his evidence for this claim. It is certainly not particularly well supported by peer-reviewed literature. Unfortunately most of the recent literature suggests a comparatively modest efficacy for cannabis as a medication and indeed there is a dearth of evidence for most of the conditions for which cannabis is claimed to have benefit.

In fact, despite Mr Maguire’s outrage that we are keeping patients from safe and regulated cannabis use, the law, in fact, allows access to prescribed cannabinoids for conditions for which efficacy has been demonstrated. This has been widely reported in the media, in relation to several named patients and in relation to Dravet’s syndrome.

Making claims for the efficacy of cannabinoids in treatment of medical conditions requires supporting evidence. That said, the prohibition of a compound that probably causes considerably less medical, societal and economic problems than alcohol does seem incongruous, and there is certainly a case to be made for allowing access to safe and regulated cannabis. – Is mise,

Dr F HUGH BRIEN,

Clontarf,

Dublin 3.