Accessing Medical Cannabis

Update: 18 November 2017

Congratulations to Chronic Pain Ireland for their involvement in securing a licence for a chronic pain patient to treat their condition with medicinal cannabis. For the first time in Ireland a single licence was issued to a chronic pain patient for the treatment of their condition.

Accessing Medical Cannabis in Ireland via the Ministerial Licence process

A process now exists in Ireland that allows patients the potential of accessing medical cannabis for the treatment of certain conditions. This is known as the ministerial licence. It does not guarantee people will gain access to medical cannabis but it provides the possibility.

Currently the list of conditions that are included in this licencing process are:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Chemotherapy side-effects

The key aspects of an application for such a licence, as outlined by the Department of Health, are as follows:

  • An application, for a ministerial licence to supply cannabis, can only be made for a named patient by a doctor registered with the Medical Council
  • It is expected that the doctor making the application is actively involved in the treatment of the patient

Additionally, the Department of Health requires that, the main elements of an application will include:

  • An outline of the treatment the patient has received to date and a justification from the doctor as to why it is appropriate in her/his patient’s specific circumstances to prescribe a Schedule 1 controlled drug
  • If the patient’s medical consultant is not the doctor making the application, the views, if any, of the consultant in relation to the application
  • Details of the cannabis-based product which it is proposed to prescribe and administer to the patient
  • The source of the cannabis-based product
  • The arrangements for the ongoing monitoring and care of the patient once treatment with the cannabis-based product has commenced

Any decision made with regard to the suitability of medical cannabis for you will always lie with your medical practitioner / consultant. We recommend that you speak with your GP or consultant if you are interested in applying for a ministerial licence.

For more details on this you can read the press release on the Irish Government website:
Minister Harris publishes ‘milestone’ report on Cannabis for Medical Use