The French government has approved a new medical cannabis law that will allow doctors to prescribe cannabis-based treatments for patients. The law is the first of its kind in Europe and could make France a global leader in medical marijuana.

Aphria is a Canadian cannabis company that has been involved in medical cannabis trials in France. The results of the trials show promise for the future of medical cannabis. Read more in detail here: aphria.

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The first findings of a study investigating the use of medicinal cannabis for pain treatment, which started in March in a hospital in central France, are encouraging. 

The trial is being performed at the University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand by psychiatrist Dr Nicolas Authier, Chair of the Scientific Committee on Medical Cannabis. He had selected 20 individuals who he thought would be good candidates for the study.

“I’m not yet totally freed of the agony,” said Mounir, 47, who had a stroke at the age of 21 and battled with opioid addiction in order to manage his neuropathic pain. There is still some, but it is nothing like what I experienced previously.”

The study is part of a two-year national investigation aimed at determining the optimal circumstances for medicinal cannabis access.

Dr. Authier believes that medicinal marijuana will be legalized in the future for patients whose pain is not alleviated by traditional therapies. 

It may provide moderate to substantial relief depending on the patient, but others have reported no improvement or more negative side effects than beneficial ones.

What does “medical marijuana” imply?

Oils are derived from the flowers of many cannabis plant types, and medicinal cannabis refers to a variety of medications that use these oils in various ways. 

Some contain high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) and are used to treat epilepsy. Others mix CBD with THC, the ingredient in cannabis that causes you to become high if you consume too much.

After that, the oils are taken orally in the form of pills, capsules, or sprays. Oils to be ingested using pipettes are presently being utilized in France. 

Over many weeks, the doctor works with patients to discover the appropriate combination of THC and CBD, and the dried flowers may be used as a supplement to the oils if required. 

Unlike non-medical cannabis, physicians know exactly what ingredients are in the medicine they provide to their patients.

Medical cannabis is used to produce a medicinal benefit, while recreational cannabis is utilized to create a euphoric impact that frequently necessitates the use of greater amounts.

What can you do with medicinal marijuana?

As of now, the ANSM (National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products) has approved five medical cannabis applications as part of the trial, including:

  • epilepsy that is severe and drug-resistant in certain cases
  • In oncology, there are certain uncontrollable symptoms.
  • Nerve discomfort that hasn’t responded to any of the available treatments
  • circumstances requiring palliative care
  • In central nervous system disorders, unpleasant spasticity is a common symptom.

Medical marijuana legalization

Except in the context of an experiment, any use of cannabis is presently prohibited in France.

Some authorities are wary of medicinal cannabis because of its drug-like reputation, and research has been sluggish to demonstrate its efficacy. 

Medical cannabis, on the other hand, can be no more hazardous than prescribing some opiates for patients who cannot be treated by conventional therapy.

The real difficulty is figuring out which patients will gain the most from it.

Steps to take next

“It is possible that the legalisation of access to these drugs will follow,” Dr Authier told France 3 as the trial nears its conclusion in March 2023. 

In the next weeks, a draft decree should authorize the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes in France.

Cannabis must now be imported from other nations, such as Canada, Israel, and Australia. 

Farmer Jean-Baptiste Moreau, an LREM MP for the Creuse and the rapporteur of the National Assembly’s cannabis committee, recognizes the potential of medicinal cannabis cultivation, but has concerns.

He thinks that the proposed order will not go far enough, allowing for the establishment of a therapeutic industry but not a wellness sector. 

He told France 3 that a farmer would not spend €3 million on a greenhouse for medicinal purposes since it would be unsustainable in the long run.

He believes that CBD-based oils and ointments will be the true moneymakers, since CBD is not classified as a medicine by the WHO, but rather as a dietary supplement. 

Cannabis is not a water-intensive crop from an agronomic standpoint, and it has the additional benefit of covering a lot of area, smothering weeds, and decreasing the need for herbicides. 

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