This experiment will concern people suffering from serious illnesses for whom cannabis derivatives can provide an additional therapeutic benefit.
It's "yes." The National Assembly on Friday gave the green light to an experiment on the medical use of cannabis, as part of the examination of the draft Social Security budget for 2020. MEPs voted by a show of hands on an amendment by rapporteur Olivier Véran (LREM) to authorise for two years such an experiment, which had already been approved by the Medicines Agency (ANSM).
"I very much hope that this experiment can begin in the first half of 2020," reacted Secretary of State Christelle Dubos. "It could involve 3,000 patients in France and will aim to test the positive impact of cannabis derivatives on certain pathologies", explained Olivier Véran, recalling that "17 European Union countries have already authorised treatments based on medical cannabis".
"It's absolutely not the martingale, it's not the Holy Grail of painkillers, it's not a question of developing a new drug that would replace paracetamol or another analgesic, but of finding the means of a new adjuvant treatment," said the Isère MP.
This experiment will concern people suffering from serious illnesses - certain forms of epilepsy, neuropathic pain, side effects of chemotherapy, palliative care or uncontrolled muscle contractions in multiple sclerosis - for whom cannabis derivatives can provide an additional therapeutic benefit.
Broad Administration Modalities
It will be carried out in several hospital centres, in particular reference centres for the pathologies concerned. An initial hospital prescription will be made by a medical specialist, neurologist or pain physician, among others. Patients will first have to obtain their supplies from hospital pharmacies and then they can renew their treatments in the city pharmacy.
The Medicines Agency has decided in favour of fairly broad methods of administration: the treatment can thus take the form of dried flowers, oils and possibly herbal teas. The different dosages may incorporate very variable relationships between the two active ingredients: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has psychoactive effects, and cannabidiol (CBD), which has more of a muscle relaxation effect.
The measure was welcomed in the hemicycle. "However, this raises the question of the supply chain, as France does not authorise the production of cannabis," said MEP Jean-Pierre Door.