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  • The EU should stimulate innovation in medical cannabis 
  • Effective cannabis-based medicines should be covered by health insurance schemes 
  • Authorities should distinguish clearly between medical and other uses 

MEPs propose ways to address research gaps on medical cannabis and call on member states to seize the potential of cannabis-based medicines.

In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, MEPs call on the Commission and national authorities to draw a clear distinction between medical cannabis and other uses of cannabis. The resolution urges the Commission and member states to address regulatory, financial and cultural barriers which burden scientific research and invites them to properly fund research.

The EU, too, should embark on more research and stimulate innovation with regard to medicinal cannabis projects.

Let doctors prescribe cannabis-based medicines

MEPs call on member states to allow doctors to use their professional judgement in prescribing cannabis-based medicines. When effective, these medicines are to be covered by health insurance schemes in the same way as other types of medicine, they say.

The regulation of cannabis-based medicines would translate into additional revenue for public authorities, would limit the black market and ensure quality and accurate labelling. It would also limit minors’ access to this substance, they say.

Background

MEPs say that there is evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids may be effective in increasing appetite and decreasing weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS. Medical cannabis may also help to alleviate the symptoms of mental disorders such as psychosis or Tourette syndrome, and to alleviate the symptoms of epilepsy, as well as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma, cancer, Crohn’s disease and glaucoma. They also help to reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes and ease menstrual pain.

Whilst the WHO has officially recommended that the cannabis compound cannabidiol (CBD) should not be classified as a controlled substance, legislation in member states differs widely on the subject of cannabis for medicinal purposes.