Approve medicinal cannabis for chronic pain conditions including Fibromyalgia.
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To Minister Harris,
In response to the HPRA's recommendation against medicinal cannabis for chronic pain, I would like to petition the fact that the majority of clinical studies, meta-analysis and systematic reviews cited in the HPRA report conclude that cannabis or individual cannabinoids show moderate to substantial benefit to patients suffering from chronic pain. The current evidence base in support of efficiency of cannabinoids for chronic pain is evidently stronger for chronic pain than for some of the other indications recommended within the HPRA report.
As a fibromyalgia sufferer, I believe that if pain consultants/specialists in Ireland were given the necessary training they would be certainly capable to assess the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis treatment for chronic pain sufferers. If that were not the case, then we could not have confidence in them to prescribe any pain medications to patients with chronic pain.
Finally the last point of HPRA's reason for not supporting the inclusion of chronic pain is; "4. chronic pain is common, and the potential use of cannabis-based medicines by a large number of patients, raises concerns about misuse and diversion into the wider community." In response to this statement, I believe that the very high prevalence of chronic pain in Ireland is all the more reason to make new treatments such as cannabinoids with proven efficiency and fewer side effects available to patients as soon as possible. Also, the concerns about misuse and diversion into the wider community, while understandable, are not unique to cannabis/cannabinoids -they also apply to opioids which have been prescribed for pain treatment for decades. It is fact that cannabis has significantly less abuse potential than many opioids and significantly less risk of overdose.
Importantly I would like to highlight that the HPRA report was supportive of further research within Ireland and internationally on medical cannabis and cannabinoids, including for chronic pain. I would like to emphasise the importance of our government ensuring correct regulation and quality of cannabis based medications/products so that patients and doctors can proceed with confidence. Careful, controlled and regulated introduction of medical cannabis in Ireland for chronic pain is key to ensure the best outcomes for patients.
Please do not prolong our suffering and approve medicinal cannabis for chronic pain with the inclusion of Fibromyalgia as soon as possible. I will eagerly await your response to this petition.
Aisling Golden. (Fibromyalgia sufferer aged 24)
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