Your latest cannabis business info from Europe

Your latest cannabis business info from Europe


The struggles of Ireland’s medical cannabis programme

The struggles of Ireland's medical cannabis programme

In recent years, Ireland has made strides towards providing medical cannabis for those in need through the Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP). However, recent figures obtained by Independent TD Violet Anne Wynne reveal a stark reality: just 53 individuals have enrolled in the programme since its inception in 2017. Furthermore, there have been no new enrollees in the current year, highlighting significant challenges within the system.

Limited accessibility in Ireland

The MCAP, designed to cater to patients suffering from specific medical conditions such as spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis, intractable nausea and vomiting linked to chemotherapy, and severe, refractory epilepsy, appears to be falling short of its intended impact. With only 53 patients accessing the programme over seven years, questions arise regarding its effectiveness and accessibility.

Violet Anne Wynne has voiced concerns over the restrictive nature of the MCAP. She points out that the programme’s narrow scope limits its ability to serve those in need adequately. Wynne highlights the lack of financial support for applicants as a significant drawback, placing an undue burden on patients already grappling with medical challenges.

The ministerial licence pathway

In contrast to the MCAP, the Ministerial Licence pathway has seen more substantial utilization, with 319 patients obtaining medical cannabis since July 2019. However, this pathway presents its own challenges. Despite its higher uptake, only one successful applicant has been recorded this year. This disparity underscores the need for a more inclusive and accessible medical cannabis framework in Ireland.

Wynne contends that the current schemes, both MCAP and Ministerial Licence, are failing to meet the needs of patients, leaving many in pain and without adequate relief. The discrepancy in patient numbers between the two pathways highlights systemic issues within Ireland’s approach to medical cannabis provision.

As Ireland grapples with the complexities of medical cannabis regulation, it is evident that the current frameworks, particularly the Medical Cannabis Access Programme, are not meeting the needs of patients. With just 53 enrollees in seven years, and no new applicants this year, urgent action is needed to address the limitations and barriers hindering access to medical cannabis. Independent TD Violet Anne Wynne’s calls for an expansion of the MCAP underscore the pressing need for reform to ensure that those in need receive the care and relief they deserve.

What is more, according to the research, a significant number of doctors have tried drugs, with cannabis being the most popular choice. Additionally, the majority of physicians endorsed the decriminalisation of modest amounts of cannabis used for personal purposes.


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