In recent cannabis news, the French government just launched the first therapeutic cannabis experiments authorized by decree. The order authorizes the therapeutic use of cannabis in a very controlled and limited framework. The drugs are meant for patients suffering from serious illnesses.
Relief for patients
Patients suffering from severe pain have eagerly waited for the decree. To their relief, the decree published by the Ministry of Health on Friday, October 9, allowed the first cannabis experiments to take place in France.
The French National Assembly approved the full-scale test in 2019 but its implementation was delayed due to the health crisis brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the decree, the experiment, which is set to begin before March 2021, will involve 3000 patients.
However, the protocol excludes the use of cannabis for smoking. The drugs will be available in the form of oils, capsules, and dried flower spray. Only patients with serious illnesses will benefit from the drugs. Targeted conditions include some forms of epilepsy, neuropathic pain, side effects of chemotherapy, palliative care, and multiple sclerosis.
Therapeutic use of cannabis
According to a press release from the Collective Alternative for cannabis for therapeutic purposes (ACT), more than 30 countries around the world already accept cannabis for medicinal use. In Europe, the Netherlands became the pioneer in 2003 followed by 22 other countries including France now.
The decree is published in a difficult context for patients in particular, victims of an ever-stronger stigma and an offensive government disclosure against cannabis in general, read the statement from ACT.
France has been a fierce opponent of cannabis legalization. Since September 1, there has been a fixed fine of 200 Euros for all drug users, including cannabis. In September, the French Minister of Interior Gerald Darmanin declared his opposition to cannabis legalization, calling it “shit.”
However, for its medicinal use, the deputies of the parliamentary mission that looks into the subject and several associations of patients advised the state to act more quickly. Through the general rapporteur of the mission Jean-Baptiste Moreau (LRM), they said, “France must get out of prehistory in terms of cannabis,” a plant “which is a drug but which can also be a medicine.”
This development comes just in the wake of a similar initiative in Rwanda when the country authorized the cultivation of medicinal cannabis. At the beginning of this week, the Rwandan cabinet approved the guidelines for the production of medical cannabis in the country. However, it is strictly for export, targeting fast-growing markets in the US and EU.