News

It's high time to introduce medical cannabis in Ireland, say healthcare firm

NewsBy Alan Sherry
Medical cannabis: Call for law to change
Medical cannabis: Call for law to change

AN Irish healthcare company say it’s high time the government changed the laws on medical cannabis in this country.

GreenLight Health, a medical cannabis research and development firm, based in Dublin, are hoping to spark interest in a fundraising campaign to lobby the government on the matter.

At present people who use cannabis to relieve medical conditions face criminalisation, a €2,750 fine and up to 12 months in prison for a second offence.

“The situation in Ireland at present is unacceptable,” says Dr James Linden, MD of GreenLight Health. “We know from speaking to people with MS, for example, that they are crying out for cannabis-based medicines to relieve their symptoms.

“We can produce a medicine specifically tailored for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients, yet the laws still state that the manufacture, production, preparation, sale, supply, distribution and possession of cannabis or cannabis-based medicinal products is unlawful, except for the purposes of research.”

Medical cannabis is already legal in many EU countries including: Germany, France, the UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Austria.                                                        

Back in 2012 the Department of Health said legislation would be brought forward in 2013 to facilitate the sale of medical cannabis but the legislation has still not been brought forward.

“There are over 8,000 MS patients in Ireland, many of whom already use cannabis to relieve their symptoms. However, what they are doing [currently] makes them criminals under Irish law," says Dr Linden.

“We want to change the law in Ireland and build a proper research and development facility with the aim of producing cannabis medicines for export, and not just for MS patients but for cancer patients, epilepsy patients and patients with chronic pain,” says Linden.

Irishman Dr William Brooke O'Shaughnessy was the first person to introduce cannabis to modern Western Medicine in 1839. It is estimated that up to 30 per cent of MS patients in Europe use herbal cannabis to ease the pain and symptoms of the disease

Information on the crowdfunding campaign can be found here.