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Cannabis for medical use: a scientific review,Issue 62, Summer 2017.


Lucy Dillon

Subject Keywords: Substance Misuse
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland

Cannabis for medical use: a scientific review1 was launched by Minister for Health Simon Harris TD on 10 February 2017. He described the review as a ‘milestone’ in the development of policy on medicinal cannabis in Ireland.2 The review was carried out by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) in response to a request from the Minister in November 2016 for expert scientific advice on the use of cannabis for medical purposes.


HPRA defined the medical use of cannabis3 as ‘a situation where a doctor prescribes or recommends the use of cannabis for treatment of a medical condition in a patient under his/her care’ (p. 9). It convened a group of clinical experts and patient representatives to assist them in carrying out the work. They did not undertake a systematic review of the data on cannabis for medical use. Instead, they reviewed a selection of what they considered to be the ‘main scientific reviews and relevant publications’ (p. 2).4 They also carried out a survey of HPRA’s global regulatory counterparts to explore the situation in other jurisdictions and their policies on access to cannabis for medical use.5


The review covered four main themes:

  • The cannabis products available
  • The regulatory regimes in countries where cannabis was allowed for medical purposes
  • The research on new indications and evidence of efficacy of cannabis for various medical conditions
  • The current legal situation in Ireland and legislative changes required for cannabis to be made available for medical purposes here

This article focuses on elements of the last two themes.





Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Lucy Dillon. (2017) Cannabis for medical use: a scientific review,Issue 62, Summer 2017. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 20th July 2019].


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