Ireland: People With Chronic Pain Want Access To Medical Cannabis

In Ireland, people with chronic pain are seeking legal access to medical cannabis, arguing that the current scheme is too restrictive. 

Ireland's medical marijuana program has only three qualifying conditions: plasticity associated with MS, nausea associated with chemotherapy and treatment-resistant epilepsy.

What About Us? Campaign

Advocates suffering from chronic pain have launched the 'What About Us' campaign outside Leinster House, the seat of the Irish parliament in Dublin.

Supported by People Before Profit parliament member, Gino Kenny, the group is calling on the Department of Health to expand the use of medical cannabis to include those with chronic pain. "The program is too restrictive; it's only benefiting a handful of people. We think it's not fit for purpose, so it has to expand," Kenny said.

Amy Brown, 29, was among those who gathered outside Leinster House. Brown told the RTE, local news, that she suffers chronic pain from endometriosis and the only effective relief for her is cannabis.

"I'm in agony today. I feel like there's a screwdriver being twisted right above my left rib. I was actually getting sick in the car on the way up here..." 

Brown said she wants cannabis to be made available for medical use because buying it illegally leaves her vulnerable to buying a bad or ineffective batch and also supports criminality.

Dr. Russell Banta, a researcher in chemistry at University College Cork, also traveled to Dublin for the demonstration.

A cycling accident four years ago left him with dental, facial and neuropathic pain.

"If I could just go to a doctor and get a pharmaceutical-grade prescription and be monitored on it and find a strain that works best, that's not psychoactive. I can just take a pill in the morning and go about my day, that's the dream," said Banta.

Professional Support

Dr. Garrett McGovern, an addiction specialist at the Priority Medical Clinic voiced his support for the expanded use of medical cannabis.

"There's very little good quality research over here because the drug is illegal so, you know, we can't have it both ways. We can't say that there's no evidence and on the other hand not invest in cannabis research. We have to find out both the positive and negative effects of this drug," he said per RTE.

Photo by Barbora Dostálová on Unsplash

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