The establishment of a pilot programme allowing access to cannabis-based products for medical use has been welcomed by a Dublin Mid West TD.

The legislation for the Medical Cannabis Access Programme to operate in this country was signed by Simon Harris last Wednesday.

Work on the establishment of the programme started in 2017 following an examination by the Health Products Regulatory Authority which suggested cannabis-based products be made available to some patients with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and people suffering nausea in chemotherapy.

The legislation means that commercial operators whose cannabis products meet the specified requirements can now supply products to the Irish market.

People Before Profit Dublin Mid West TD Gino Kenny, who has campaigned for medicinal cannabis access for three years, including tabling a bill in the Dáil, the Cannabis for Medicinal Use Regulation Bill 2016, welcomed the announcement.

“For the first time medicinal cannabis can be prescribed by a medical practitioner which is hugely significant in terms of the Irish health system’s acknowledgement of the medicinal properties of cannabis,” he said.

“I would however say that the programme, as the government have laid out, is quite restrictive in that it does not include a number of conditions that could derive benefit from medicinal cannabis, most notably chronic pain.”

There are currently no medical cannabis products available in Ireland.

Once suitable medical cannabis products are made available by suppliers, the programme will make it possible for a medical consultant to prescribe a listed cannabis-based treatment for a patient under his or her care for the following medical conditions, where the patient has failed to respond to standard treatments.