Medical cannabis could be prescribed and available to patients in Spain within six months

Medicinal Cannabis / Reuters

The decision was approved by the Spanish parliament today, June 21, although PP and Vox voted against the measure and ERC and Bildu abstained because they wanted it to go further.

The Spanish parliament approved the use of cannabis for medical purposes, a decision supported by the PSOE, Unidas Podemos, Ciudadanos, PNV and PDECAT, while PP and Vox voted against and ERC and Bildu, who wanted the text to go further, abstained.

This brought the use of cannabis closer to medical purposes, as the Ministry of Health had already declared that it would accept the conclusions of Parliament. The issue is expected to be debated next week, and then the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (Aemps) will have six months to draw up the final regulations.

Today’s decision (June 21) recommends that patients with multiple sclerosis, certain forms of epilepsy, those suffering from nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, those suffering from endometriosis, cancer pain and non-oncological chronic pain (including neuropathic pain) can use standardized cannabis extracts or preparations (oils, inhaled or medicated) to relieve their symptoms and these will also be available for other health problems if medical studies support him.

Prescribed by doctors

The document strongly emphasizes that cannabis can only be prescribed by doctors (but not only those in the health service) and recommends that it be dispensed by pharmacies in hospitals and health centres. However, it also opens the door to the idea that normal pharmacies can also dispense it if they are willing to do so. Cannabis treatments must be of a defined duration and the details of the patients for whom the drug has been prescribed must be recorded in a register.

The text also makes it very clear that cannabis can only be used for medical purposes, never for recreational purposes.

Not regulated

Currently, the use of cannabis is unregulated and is only available on the black market. “Patients have to go to a retailer to get it. We have placed these sick people in the hands of a drug dealer or a friend who grows it clandestinely, instead of being prescribed by a medical professional,” said Manuel Guzmán, vice president of the Medicinal Cannabis Observatory, which welcomes the move, but thinks it is long overdue.

“Doctors were able to prescribe other therapies much more powerful than cannabis. It’s like banning beer while letting people drink whisky, vodka or rum,” he said.

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