Ireland Gearing Up for Medical Marijuana Trial Run
From its emerald colour, to four-leafed clovers and Saint Patrick’s Day, green is a common theme in Irish culture around the world. Now, Marijuana Business Daily reports that Ireland might be (cautiously) adopting one more green thing.
With Britain recently allowing its own medical marijuana program (albeit with flaws and accessibility issues), it is hardly surprising that the green wave spread.
However, this is by no means a full commitment. Ireland is being extra cautious, creating a 5-year medical marijuana pilot program. If the results are positive, however, this means a ground-breaking permanent change in marijuana policy.
The Irish government released a brief list of eligible conditions for obtaining permission to use medical cannabis. At the moment, eligibility is tight.
Specifically, medical cannabis is only available to those with spasticity from multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea/vomiting from chemotherapy or intractable severe epilepsy that fails to respond to treatment.
Narrow Patient Eligibility
The list of eligible conditions is quite short. Consequently, so is the number of eligible patients.
According to Health Minister Simon Harris:
“Today is a significant milestone. The purpose of this program is to facilitate compassionate access to cannabis for medical reasons, where conventional treatment has failed.”
This is inline with many U.S. states, where getting medical cannabis can be restrictive. Individuals must prove that their condition is intractable and other treatments have failed. Unfortunately, this means Irish patients cannot simply choose marijuana out preference over prescriptions that can be harmful, addictive or unpleasant.
To its credit, the government did an excellent job researching dosage and products. For instance, the clinical guidelines (available here in PDF form), specify the type of medication and dosage.
Epilepsy patients, for instance, are limited only to high CBD cannabis with very little THC. This is critical, given that THC can actually trigger seizures.
Contrast this with Canada and the U.S., where doctors are mostly blind when it comes to understanding dosage. Only recently are some western medical professionals given the resources to learn more about the drug.
Better Access and Different Rules
Ireland’s medical cannabis program may have its limitations, but it offers something that North America has almost refused to provide.
In Canada and the U.S., medical marijuana is an out-of-pocket expense (although in Canada it is tax deductible).
Patients who qualify for a license have a good chance of being reimbursed by the government. Marijuana Business Daily explains:
“The country’s Health Service Executive will cover the cost of prescriptions for patients with qualifying medical conditions, so long as treatment is consultant-initiated, online reimbursement approval is accepted and all standard approved treatments have been exhausted.”
Since reimbursement requires an application, each case will be reviewed. Being accepted as a patient does not necessarily guarantee reimbursement.
Marijuana will also be dispensed through pharmacies, which Marijuana Business Daily says is common practice among similar experimental European medical marijuana programs.
WeedAdvisor’s Involvement in International Marijuana Expansion
At this point, there is no question that marijuana’s image is changing in Europe. As medical marijuana becomes more accepted, this presents new options for individuals in need of help.
It is also an opportunity for WeedAdvisor to get involved with regulators and retailers to provide the best business and government solutions that will ensure compliance, accuracy and efficiency.
We look forward to establishing future partnerships with our counterparts in Ireland and throughout the globe.