Medicinal cannabis accessible for certain patients from today

Cork mother and campaigner Vera Twomey has welcomed the news.
Medicinal cannabis accessible for certain patients from today

Vera Twomey said she is hopeful that the number of conditions that have access to medicinal cannabis will be expanded in the future.

From today, people will be able to access medicinal cannabis in certain circumstances.

The government has announced it is to fund the Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme which was introduced into legislation in 2019.

It will be available through a consultant for people suffering muscle spasms from MS, nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy or those who have severe epilepsy.

Medicinal cannabis campaigner Vera Twomey has welcomed the news.

"I think credit is due to all those involved in highlighting this important issue," she said.

"We would hope that consideration would be given to substantial support of education for consultants and also for GPs to allow them to prescribe effectively into the future for patients.

"I would also be hopeful that the limited number of conditions would be expanded to include others in the future."

The Cork mother said the drug has saved her daughter Ava’s life.

Ava was diagnosed as a baby with Dravet syndrome, a severe type of epilepsy characterised by prolonged seizures. It is a rare condition that affects one in 20,000 to 40,000 people worldwide.

Medical marijuana has left her 95% seizure-free, happy, able to attend school and independent of heavy medications.

Prior to the pandemic, Ms Twomey had been travelling to Holland every 12 weeks to collect medicinal cannabis.

On April 6 last year, the Department of Health arranged for the medicine to be delivered to their home instead.

Initially the delivery of the medication was only to continue while public health restrictions were in place but the Health Minister announced last December that patients would no longer need to travel abroad for their medication.

Speaking at the time, Mr Donnelly said: “Many patients and their families have shared stories with both me and officials in my department about how this initiative has made a huge improvement to their lives.

"They spoke about the stress of having to travel regularly and the associated health risks with that, as well as their concerns that they would run out of their medication.

“I am so pleased that these problems will now be a thing of the past for them. There will no longer be a need for them to travel abroad in order to collect their prescribed cannabis products. Instead, they can focus on their health and wellbeing.

"The welfare of patients and their families comes first and I am happy to reassure them that they will no longer have to personally source their prescriptions."

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