by Ben Sensi on 26/07/2013 | Legal & Politics

Medicinal Cannabinoids soon to be legal in Ireland

Following France, Ireland is currently going through the legal procedure to allow the use of cannabinoids in medicine and regulate distribution “as quickly as possible”, according to the department of health.


ireland flag and cannabis leaveFollowing France, Ireland is currently going through the legal procedure to allow the use of cannabinoids in medicine and regulate distribution “as quickly as possible”, according to the department of health.

Although the legal procedure concerns the medicinal use of cannabis, it is highly unlikely that the plant will be used in its natural state, or that patients might be able to grow their own medicine.

An approved substance

Last year, the Irish Medicines Board approved the use of Sativex, a patented cannabis-based oral spray mainly used to relax the muscle spasticity experienced by MS sufferers. The spray, produced in a secret location in the UK by GW Pharmaceuticals, was approved in Canada as early as 2005. Recently, France changed its legislation to allow the required approval of Sativex by the French authorities. The Irish Department of Health announced that the legislative change was well advanced and that it would only take a few more months for the sub-lingual spray to be legally sold in pharmacies. A potential complication, however, may be the fact that the Justice Department is also involved.

A costly product

sativex cannabis drugAs with any medicine, the costs associated with the production of a (pharmaceutical) drug depend on the investment in research and development of the substance. After more than 10 years of research, GW Pharma is the leader in this field, holding various patents related to the medicinal use of cannabis. The greatest example is the patent US20130059018 A1 protecting the use of cannabinoids as treatment for cancer even though the effectiveness of cannabinoids against cancer cells is still controversial amongst the scientific community. Sativex was the first product manufactured by the company and is now approved in 20 countries and sold in 8 at a cost of over 125$ a bottle. In Germany, a set of 3 bottles of 10 ml costs 586€ for an average 90 day treatment, although the plant derived medicine can be more expensive in other countries (125£ per bottle in the UK for instance).

Efficiency of Sativex questioned

sativex sprayNot all patients suffering from MS would agree that Sativex is as efficient at reducing their spasms and tremors as a few tokes on a cannabis cigarette.  The main problem is the time it takes for cannabinoids to reach peak levels in the bloodstream, which can be as long as an hour and a half. GW asserts that Sativex is quicker than its competitor Marinol® (a synthetic THC oil dispensed in capsules) but not quick enough to encourage abuse from recreational users. Moreover, the delay is considered unacceptably slow by physicians and patients alike. In addition, GW recommends a maximum of 12 sprays per day but some patients only feel relief after 30 to 40 sprays a day, thus drastically increasing the cost of the treatment. As the Berkeley Patients Care Collective already explained in 2010, Sativex will never eliminate the need for medical marijuana in its inhaled form, as it is a much efficient method of delivery.

A moral issue

As usual with cannabis, the stigma associated with its use after more than 50 years of prohibition makes legislation difficult to improve. While Sativex is a great addition to the possible ways of administering cannabis, restricting access to cannabinoids to only expensive and pharmaceutically approved substances will have a detrimental effect on less fortunate patients. Cannabis has shown beneficial effects for dozens of ailments. Refusing patients’ access to such a cheaply-grown medicinal plant simply to prevent healthy people from “abusing”  this non-lethal substance is a paradox that urgently needs addressing.

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Stefanie

As per July 2013, the price of Sativex in Germany has been reduced to 312,12€ for 3 bottles.

26/07/2013

Larry Sam

I never knew cannabis oil was indeed wonderful and very effective in treating cancer’ if not for the government and their so called rules in regulating cannabis my Dad would have still been alive. thanks to the new policy for legalizing cannabis in my state i would have still lost my wife to kidney cancer, i was really touched and surprised when i watch lots of documentary on how cannabis oil had helped lot of people whom their family members never thought they could make it after undergoing several ”Chemo” from the dept of my heart i must say a word of appreciation to Dr Brown Nelson for the timely intervention in the life of my wife suffering from Kidney Cancer. as i am writing this testimony on this Blog my wife is so strong and healthy in spite he hasn’t completed the total Dosage’ for your cannabis and medical consultation try and get in touched with him if youare a cancer patient through his email: (brownnelson07@aol.com) so he can enlightened you more detailsa.

28/01/2015

morgan hope

I am Mrs debra Hope i has been suffering from thyroid cancer which was confirmed to be stage four, the doctor told me there was little i could do since i wasn't responding to treatment but my brother in law came to my rescue by ordering this hemp oil from Dr Morgan hope which he said has been helping some patient fight against cancer of various types so we decided to give it a chance, so far i am improving perfectly very well and presently i can walk around the house all by myself. I felt its necessary i let others who are suffering from this acute disease that once you have a good hemp oil it can really give one a sound second chance of living.

01/04/2015

James Leigh

I am Mr James Leigh i has been suffering from thyroid cancer which was confirmed to be stage four,
the doctor told me there was little i could do since i wasn't responding to treatment but my brother in law came to my rescue
by ordering this hemp oil from Dr weissert which he said has been helping some patient fight against cancer
of various types so we decided to give it a chance, so far i am improving perfectly very well and presently i can walk around
the house all by myself. I felt its necessary i let others who are suffering from this acute disease that once you have a good Cannabis oil it can really give one a sound second chance of living.

17/04/2015

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