Medicinal cannabis could be prescribed and made available to patients in Spain within six months
Un subcommittee of the Spanish Congress of Deputies has approved a bill to allow sales of medical cannabis in the country, according to a report by the Spanish newspaper ABC .
The Spanish Parliament approved the use of cannabis for medical purposes, a measure supported by the PSOE, Unidas Podemos, Ciudadanos, PNV and PDECAT, while the PP and Vox voted against and the ERC and Bildu, who wanted for the text to go further, abstained.
This brought closer the use of cannabis for 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.
The June 21 decision recommends that patients with multiple sclerosis, certain forms of epilepsy, nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, endometriosis, oncological pain and chronic non-oncological pain (including pain neuropathic) can use extracts or standardized preparations of cannabis (oils, inhalations or medications) to relieve their symptoms.
Prescribed by specialists
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 have a fixed duration and the details of patients who are prescribed this drug must be entered in a register.
The text also specifies that cannabis can only be used for medical purposes, never for recreational purposes.
For the moment, the use of cannabis is not regulated, it is only available on the black market. “Patients have to go to a dealer to get it. We have placed these patients in the hands of a drug dealer or a friend who cultivates it clandestinely, instead of it being prescribed by a medical professional,” said Manuel Guzmán, vice president of the Spanish Observatory of Medicinal Cannabis, which welcomes this measure but considers that it should have been taken a long time ago.
“Doctors have been able to prescribe other therapies that are much stronger than cannabis. It's like banning beer while letting people drink whisky, vodka or rum,” he said.
Cannabis activists and campaigners in the country have welcomed the news on social media, believing that the move will lead to further deregulation of cannabis in the country, however, the bill highlighted the need to prevent the availability of cannabis for therapeutic purposes to lead to "greater availability". and consumption" outside the health context.
On the other hand, the recommendations emphasize that it will be necessary to prevent the supply of cannabis for therapeutic use from leading to "greater availability and consumption" outside the health context. It is “absolutely necessary” to prevent the use of cannabis extracts or preparations from being “confused with an invocation of the general use of cannabis by the population”. Thus, each year, the AEMPS will prepare a report on the options available, the patients, the services and the volumes of products dispensed.