The legalization of cannabis for therapeutic use is the subject of debate all over the world. Research proves its efficacy in the treatment of different illnesses, but some European countries remain hostile to legislative changes, such as Ireland and Portugal.
In Ireland, the introduction of a parliamentary bill in July could legalise the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoid products. The legislation includes similar elements to other European laws, such as establishing safety, labelling and production norms, and the creation of a Cannabis Regulation Authority. The Irish expect to vote on the bill this term, a measure that gives hope to patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis (MS) and epilepsy.
The Irish politician and activist Brid Smith says “many MS patients already get cannabis oil, but above all, the use of cannabis relieves nausea, muscle spasms, and pain”.
In Portugal, cannabis has emerged as the drug most consumed by Portuguese, with 9.4% of the general population admitting trying it at least once according to the latest report on the situation of the country in the field of drugs and drug addiction. Similarly, cannabis was the drug most consumed by 49% of new outpatients in their treatments.
Portugal led the decriminalisation of all drugs in 2001. Since then, it has been treating drug addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal matter. Thanks to this, Portugal has experienced a remarkable 50% drop in drug addiction, and legalisation could be next step.
Recently, Denmark has announced the launch of a four-year trial to evaluate the use of cannabis medicine starting on January 1st, 2018 at a cost of 22 million crowns. After years of discussion, patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis and marrow lesions will finally benefit from the measure.
“The aim of the trial is to establish a defensible framework for the application of medicinal cannabis in the public health sector so that patients with certain indications of treatment can be treated with medical cannabis prescribed by a doctor”, the Ministry of Health said.
With medical and recreational cannabis use in Europe finally on the agenda, lets hope that soon the whole European map will turn green.