Ireland To Start Using Medicinal Cannabis To Treat Pain

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The Department of Health in Ireland has granted a licence to treat a person suffering from chronic pain, using medicinal cannabis.

A three-month license to use Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been authorized for the second time in Ireland, for a person who’s experiencing constant pain – THC is the dominant psychoactive constituent found in cannabis.

The first time such a licence was granted was last year, administered to 3-year-old Tristan Forde, from Cork, who suffers severe epilepsy. This second license is intended for the purpose of pain relief.

According to Chronic Pain Ireland (CPI) guidelines, an eligible patient does not smoke the substance, but would instead be expected to take it with tea or through vaping.

Medicinal cannabis is currently illegal in Ireland, however, medical consultants may apply for a three-month license on a case by case basis.

An application must be made directly to the Minister for Health, under section 14 of the Misuse of Drugs Act as well as in accordance with Part 3, Section 6 of The Misuse of Drugs Regulations Act 2017.

Once an application has been approved, a trained medical professional may administer an initial starting dose, monitoring the patient carefully and ensuring the dose is adjusted according to the patient’s needs.

Such patients will be put under continuous medical supervision.

An estimated 20% of the Irish population suffer from chronic pain, with 40% reporting they’re currently receiving inadequate treatment for it.

During 2016 Health Minister, Simon Harris, stated how he would action making cannabis-based products available for those suffering from conditions such as multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, as well as those experiencing nausea during chemotherapy

This action plan was based upon recommendations from the Health Products Regulatory Authority, which did not include recommendations on chronic pain – therefore CPI applied to Harris for a licence for a member, alongside their medical consultant.

Official guidelines were previously unavailable through the Department of Health, but national secretary of CPI, William McLoughlin, has now created guidelines which can be accessed via the CPI website.

The following statement was given in a CPI press release:

Chronic Pain Ireland believes that access to medicinal cannabis or THC, under medical supervision, can be used as a method of treating chronic pain.

According to The Irish Examiner, Mr McLoughlin said:

It is the first time that the Department of Health has recognised that THC can be used for the treatment of chronic pain.

Some people are desperate due to chronic pain, I personally know of people who use cannabis for chronic pain.

Some say it works, some say it doesn’t. But you must always go to your doctor.

According to The Irish Times, neurologist and rehabilitation physician Professor Mike Barnes said:

Thousands of people with chronic conditions can benefit from this drug that has been around for centuries.

This new license will change the way pain relief is addressed in Ireland and could well improve quality of life for many people across the country who are in constant agony.


Julia Banim

Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications. When not Lad-ing about, she enjoys cooking, reading and trying not to fall over in Yoga.