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Using cbd oil for ms ireland

The perceptions of CBD oil with people living with Multiple Sclerosis in Ireland

You are invited to participate in a study which will explore the perception of CBD oil.

Are you currently living in Ireland and have a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

If so, we are looking to hear from you! A fourth-year B. Applied Food Science and Nutrition student in St. Angela’s College, Sligo is researching the perceptions of CBD oil from the perspective of people living with MS as part of their final year research project. As a part of their project they have created a survey and need to obtain as many responses as possible from people living with MS in Ireland. You do not need to have any previous knowledge of CBD oil, or have used it in the past to complete this survey, we are just looking to get a clearer image of your perceptions and feelings toward CBD oil.

What is CBD oil?

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD Oil is derived from the cannabis plant. The CBD is extracted from the cannabis plant and is then diluted with an oil such as flax, hemp or coconut oil. CBD oil is legal in Ireland once it contains 0% THC. THC is short for Tetrahydrocannabinol and is the chemical responsible for marijuana’s physiological effects. With the THC extracted, CBD Oil can be used safely and legally in Ireland.

CBD is gaining momentum in the health and wellness world, with some scientific studies suggesting it may ease some symptoms of ailments e.g. chronic pain and anxiety.

Further information

If you have any queries or issues regarding the survey please feel free to contact the following email [email protected]

Your responses will be kept 100% anonymous. Thank you in advance for your help!

Medicinal cannabis

Specialist hospital doctors can prescribe or recommend cannabis-based products for treatment. The products can be used when the specialist identifies a clinical need for a person and other treatments are not suitable or have not helped.

About medicinal cannabis products

‘Medicinal cannabis’ is a broad term for any sort of cannabis-based product used to relieve symptoms.

Many of these products are available to buy online without a prescription, but their quality and content cannot be guaranteed. These products could be illegal and potentially dangerous.

Some products that might claim to be medicinal cannabis, such as ‘CBD’ oil or hemp oil, are available to buy as food supplements from health stores and other outlets, but there is no guarantee these are effective or of good quality.

Some cannabis-based products are available on prescription as medicinal cannabis. These are only likely to benefit a very small number of patients.

Prescriptions for a medicinal cannabis product

Medicinal cannabis products are only available on a prescription written by, or recommended by, a specialist hospital doctor.

This is because there is currently limited scientific evidence medicinal cannabis is safe and effective. It is also because there are relatively few licensed products available that have undergone the normal strict testing for medicines. This testing means that medicines are safe, of good quality, and are effective.

A hospital specialist might consider prescribing a medicinal cannabis product for you or your child if:

  • your child has one of the rare forms of epilepsy that might be helped by medical cannabis
  • you have spasticity from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and treatments for this are not helping
  • you have vomiting or feel sick from chemotherapy and anti-sickness treatments aren’t helping

Medicinal cannabis will generally only be considered when other treatments were not suitable or had not helped. The specialist will discuss with you the most suitable treatment option.

If the above does not apply it is unlikely your GP will refer you or your child for medicinal cannabis.

How medicinal cannabis products might help

Epidyolex for children and adults with epilepsy

Epidyolex is a highly purified liquid containing CBD (cannabidiol).

CBD is a chemical substance found in cannabis that has medical benefits.

It will not get you high, because it does not contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical in cannabis that makes you high.

Epidyolex can be prescribed for patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome (both rare forms of epilepsy).

Nabilone for chemotherapy patients

Many people having chemotherapy will have periods where they feel sick or vomit.

Nabilone can be prescribed by a specialist to help relieve these symptoms, but only when other treatments have not helped or are not suitable.

Nabilone is a medicine, taken as a capsule, which has been developed to act in a similar way to THC (the chemical in cannabis that makes you high). You may have heard it described as a “manmade form of cannabis”.

Nabiximols (Sativex) for multiple sclerosis (MS)

Nabiximols (Sativex) is a cannabis-based medicine that is sprayed into the mouth.

It is licensed in the UK for people with MS-related muscle spasticity that has not got better with other treatments.

Long-term pain

There is some evidence medical cannabis can help certain types of pain, though this evidence is not yet strong enough to recommend it for pain relief.

Researchers are currently investigating other possible uses of medicinal cannabis.

Products available to buy

Some cannabis-based products are available to buy over the internet without a prescription.

It’s likely most of these products – even those called “CBD oils” – will be illegal to possess or supply. There’s a good chance they will contain THC, and may not be safe to use.

Health stores sell certain types of “pure CBD”. However, there’s no guarantee these products will be of good quality.

They tend to only contain very small amounts of CBD, so it’s not clear what effect they would have.

Is medicinal cannabis safe

The risks of using cannabis products containing THC (the chemical that gets you high) are not currently known. That is why clinical trials are needed before they can be licensed for use.

“Pure” products that only contain CBD, such as Epidyolex, do not carry these unknown risks linked with THC.

But in reality, most products will contain a certain amount of THC.

The main risks of THC cannabis products are:

  • psychosis – there is evidence that regular cannabis use increases your risk of developing a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia
  • dependency on the medicine – although scientists believe this risk is probably small when its use is controlled and monitored by a specialist doctor

Generally, the more THC the product contains, the greater these risks are.

Cannabis bought illegally off the street, where the quality, ingredients and strength are not known, is the most dangerous form to use.

Side effects of medicinal cannabis

After taking medicinal cannabis, it is possible side effects can develop. These include:

  • decreased appetite
  • greater weakness
  • a behavioural or mood change
  • feeling very tired
  • feeling high
  • suicidal thoughts or hallucinations

If you experience any side effects from medicinal cannabis, report these to your medical team. You can also report them through the Yellow Card Scheme.

CBD can affect how other drugs work. If you are taking a CBD drug along with other medication, always discuss possible interactions with your specialist.

CBD can also affect how your liver works, so doctors would need to monitor you regularly.

Two medicinal cannabis products approved for use in Ireland

It is hoped it will only be a matter of weeks before patients can use the products.

TWO MEDICINAL CANNABIS products have been approved and registered for use in Ireland under the new Medical Cannabis Access Programme.

The two products are Aurora High CBD Oil Drops and CannEpil.

The two companies approved to supply the products are Aurora Cannabis Enterprises Inc and MGC Pharmaceuticals, which have both been recommended as being suitable for use under programme.

Health Minister Simon Harris signed legislation in June to allow for the operation of the programme on a pilot basis for five years.

The medicinal cannabis access scheme now makes it possible for a medical consultant to prescribe a cannabis-based treatment for a patient under his or her care, but only for patients with specific medical conditions, where the patient has failed to respond to standard treatments.

These conditions are:

  • spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis
  • intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy
  • severe, refractory (treatment-resistant) epilepsy

Following the signature of the legislation, work got underway to find appropriate and approved suppliers of cannabis products for use in Ireland.

Commercial medicinal cannabis suppliers had to meet specified requirements set out in the legislation in order to be able to supply these products into Ireland.

The companies cannabis products will now be listed on Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs (Prescription and Control of Supply of Cannabis for Medical Use) Regulations 2019.

While the approval of the products has been described as an important step in the process, these products are still subject to international controlled drug import and export licensing requirements.

Under the programme, when a consultant prescribes the medicinal cannabis for use, the companies will apply for a licence to bring the product into Ireland for distribution. Such requirements are outside the Department of Health’s control.

However it is understood it will only take a matter of weeks before patients get to use the products.

Related Reads

CannEpil is a product that “has been years in the making”, according to Roby Zomer, Executive Director and CEO at MGC Pharmaceuticals. CannEpil was released to the market in 2017, and is a CBD-based medication that is used as a treatment for people with refractory epilepsy.

Aurora CBD drops are extracted from the company’s “non-psychoactive CBD strains”, it states on its website.

In a statement today about its cannabis products being approved for distribution in Ireland, Canadian company, Aurora confirmed that its CBD oil drops will now be added to the regulatory schedule enabling importation, prescribing and supply under the scheme.

Dr Shane Morris, Chief Product Officer at Aurora said the company is pleased to be able to assist patients who are seeking treatment with high quality EU-GMP (good manufacturing practice) certified pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis in Ireland.

“We are very proud to be one of the first approved suppliers of medical cannabis under the MCAP. We want to acknowledge the efforts made by many people, especially the patients and doctors who have campaigned for access to these medicines.

“We look forward to more of Aurora’s high-quality medicines being approved, so that more patients can benefit from the MCAP in Ireland. We will continue to work closely with all parties and state agencies to facilitate further availability.”

People Before Profit TD for Dublin Mid-West, Gino Kenny, who has been a long-time campaigner for medicinal cannabis use, has said that the news that medicinal cannabis products are available now to be prescribed is “a step in the right direction”.

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“This represents a step in the right direction for those that have been campaigning for the past four years on getting legal and medical access to cannabis-based products in Ireland…

“Though welcome the programme needs to include other conditions where these products could be beneficial for a stated condition- such as pain relief for chronic pain,” he said.

Kenny said it has been a “very protracted number of years for campaigners, but this could be the beginning of something much bigger in the future”.