The European Parliament calls for a legal definition of medicinal cannabis

The European Parliament calls for a legal definition of medicinal cannabis

Di: Laura Rueda Terapeutico

In view of the latest developments, institutionally speaking, of cannabis issues (the WHO recommendation to eliminate medical cannabis from list IV of the dangerous narcotic drugs), the European Parliament has asked for more clarity regarding the plant. This has been done through a non-legislative motion, approved a few days ago. This resolution asserts the therapeutic use of cannabis.

The European Parliament calls for a legal definition of medicinal cannabis


What is medical marijuana? Is there a legal definition? The European Parliament has asked the European Commission and EU countries to agree to work together on a legal definition of medicinal cannabis. It has also recommended that they make a distinction between cannabis-based medicines approved by regulatory bodies such as the EMA (European Medicines Agencies). They also claim that there is more funding to investigate its properties, since it  “believes that research on the potential benefits of cannabis-derived drugs and cannabis in general has not received sufficient funds.” And it requests that possible uses of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids are explored for medical treatment.


Standardization and unification

This resolution insists on the “need to standardize and unify products that contain cannabis-based medicines”. In this way, the European Parliament calls for regulatory, financial and cultural barriers to be addressed, as they have previously influenced scientific research and research on cannabis in general. It therefore calls on the Commission and the Member States to “define the necessary conditions to allow creditable and independent scientific research, based on a wide range of material for medicinal cannabis purposes.


Priority areas for cannabis research

The European Parliament also demands that the Commission determine priority areas for medicinal cannabis research, “based on pioneering research in other countries and focusing on those that can provide the greatest added value”. Another of the requests concerns stimulating innovation in relation to medicinal cannabis projects.


Global cannabis strategy

For this important task the European Parliament has asked the commission to develop a global strategy “to guarantee the highest standards of independent research, development, authorization, commercialization and pharmacovigilance, and to avoid abuse of cannabis products”. It also emphasizes the need for the standardization and unification of products containing cannabis-based medicines. “


Collaboration with WHO

The Parliament also emphasize the importance of close collaboration and coordination with the World Health Organization and call for the establishment of a network to bring together the EMA, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), responsible national authorities and patient organizations, civil societies, social partners, consumer organizations, health professionals and NGOs. This connection will ensure the effective implementation of the strategy for cannabis-based medicines.

The European Parliament calls for a legal definition of medicinal cannabis

Adequate medical training

Another point of the motion states that medical professionals should receive adequate training and ” promote greater knowledge about medical cannabis, based on independent and powerful research.” In addition, medical personnel, medical students, doctors and pharmacists can access literature on the results of this independent scientific research. In this regard, they ask that doctors can make use their own professional judgment to prescribe cannabis-based medicines and that pharmacists comply with these prescriptions.


Limiting the black market

More important points are the demand to ensure sufficient availability of cannabis-based medicines to meet actual needs, either through production in accordance with national medical standards or perhaps through imports that comply with national requirements for cannabis-based medicines; and that the Commission and Member States work together in guaranteeing safe and controlled cannabis that has gone through clinical trials, regulatory evaluations and approval.

The motion also asks that criminal drug networks should not be favoured, and for strict prevention of addiction among minors and vulnerable groups. It also underlines the fact that comprehensive regulation would limit the black market and guarantee quality and precise labeling to help control points of sale. It seems that the motion that has gone ahead is more conservative than the proposal originally planned, which did not have enough support.

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