Irish Pain Society backs use of medical cannabis

The HPRA report recommended against the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain.

Vera Twomey is continuing her protest walk from Cork to the Dáil.

A group representing medical specialists who treat patients with chronic pain disorders disagrees with the view of the Health Product Regulatory Authority, following its recommendation against the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain.

The Irish Pain Society’s stance comes in the wake of the publication of a HPRA report in which it recommended that if the Government approves access to cannabis-based treatments on compassionate grounds, this access should be limited to some patients with MS; some who may suffer nausea associated with chemotherapy; and others with specific forms of epilepsy.

“Overall, the Irish Pain Society considers the HPRA report to be a well-researched, well-written, and important contribution to the debate on medical cannabis and cannabinoids and the HPRA should be commended for preparing such a thorough report at relatively short notice,” said Prof David P Finn, president of the society.

“Controversially, however, the HPRA report recommended against the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain.

“The view of the executive committee of the Irish Pain Society is that medical cannabis or cannabinoid-containing medicines products could be prescribed, initially by a pain specialist/consultant only, to any patient with chronic cancer or non-cancer pain that has failed to respond adequately, or has experienced an unacceptable level of adverse side-effects, to other analgesic medications, whilst under expert medical supervision.”

Meanwhile, the mother of a young girl with epilepsy who was refused access to medicinal cannabis on compassionate grounds is continuing her protest walk from Cork to the Dáil.

It is understood that consultants are reluctant to sign off on Vera Twomey’s application for her daughter Ava to have access to the treatment, but Ms Twomey says this is indicative of why Health Minister Simon Harris needs to change the existing laws.

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