Icelandic authorities have proposed a four-year pilot project to allow the use of medical cannabis
A four-year pilot project, which would allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes in Iceland, has been proposed by politicians. If approved, the four-year pilot is expected to begin in January 2024
Following a debate at the Alþingi [Icelandic Parliament] last week, officials proposed a four-year pilot project to allow the use of medical cannabis, as well as the cultivation, production and distribution of cannabis products for medical purposes.
If this proposal is approved, the Ministry of Health will work with the Minister of Culture and Trade to set up a working group to prepare a draft law allowing companies to apply for licenses to produce and distribute drugs to cannabis base.
The bill must be presented by the ministry before December 31, with the four-year pilot program to start on January 1, 2024.
Currently, the only cannabis-based medicine that can be legally prescribed in Iceland is Sativex, which contains isolated forms of CBD and THC and is used to treat spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) and muscular dystrophy. However, theaccess to Sativex is strictly regulated and can only be prescribed by licensed neurologists.
CBD products are legal in Iceland, provided they do not contain THC. The pilot project could follow the danish model medical cannabis
According to documents published by Alþingi, the project will take a form similar to the model that was set up in Denmark in 2018 with the aim of improving knowledge about the effects of cannabinoids, while preventing patients from having access to cannabis products from illegal manner.
The Danish project was split into two parts, including a plan to enable the cultivation of Cannabis sativa to extract and produce medicine, alongside an experiment to examine the use of substances from the plant for medicinal purposes. .
The guidelines of the Danish Medicines Agency make it possible to consider the prescription of cannabis-based medicines for four pathologies. These are multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, chemotherapy patients and patients with chronic pain.
Following a report published in 2020, the project was considered to have provided a “good and safe framework” for the use of cannabis as medicine.
A document published on behalf of Albingi states that “Danes living in Iceland believe that the pilot program on which the Danes have been working needs to be seriously examined, based on their experience and that of other nations, and to be able to create a basis for considering the authorization of cannabis for medical purposes on an experimental basis.
“It is clear that the Danish experimental project was not carried out without criticism, and it is therefore important to examine the shortcomings that may have existed in the project and learn from them.
“There is no justification for denying patients access to cannabis products to protect potential abusers. It is clear that chronic pain is a major social problem and costs society dearly in the form of loss of work capacity and strain on the health care system.
“Although the evidence for the positive effects of cannabis as a medicine for medical purposes is still limited, the benefits of medical cannabis products are considered to outweigh the negative effects.
The mandate of the working group
Once the proposal is approved, the Icelandic working group will be responsible for reviewing, discussing and drafting a draft law on the following points:
- Definition of licenses for the cultivation, production and distribution of cannabis for medical purposes.
- Issuance of permits.
- A development plan valid for four years and compliant with the rules relating to drug trial plans.
- A list of cannabis products whose production and distribution are authorized and which can be legally prescribed by doctors and dispensed in pharmacies.
- Application form and application procedure
- The conditions for issuing licenses and the obligation for growers to ensure the traceability and specify the origin of all inputs, such as seeds and phytosanitary products used.