A survey carried out by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) indicates a majority of GP’s in the country support legalising cannabis for therapeutic use.
58.6% of 565 family GP’s who took part in the survey supported the legalisation of cannabis for medical use and more than 60% agreed cannabis could have a role in palliative care, pain management and treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The survey and resulting study were the first of their kind in Ireland and one of a handful of studies worldwide focused on the view of physicians.
“There has been a lot of debate on the subject of the legalisation of cannabis recently, and this unique study gives us a good insight into the views of General Practitioners on this issue.,” said Dr Des Crowley, Assistant Director of the Substance Misuse Programme at the ICGP.
Older (50 years +) and male GPs were found to be more likely to support the legalising of cannabis for medical use
The full results from the survey can be viewed here. It should be noted that while the results have only recently been published, the survey itself was carried out in early 2016. Given the rapid changes in attitudes toward cannabis, if the same survey were run today it could quite possibly indicate even stronger support.
While medical cannabis has been available in Ireland since 2014, access has been heavily restricted. However, In December last year, the Dáil (lower house of the Irish legislature) allowed a bill to make medicinal cannabis more widely accessible to pass the first stage.
In other recent related news out of Ireland, the Oireachtas Health Committee has stated the country should “pursue a balanced course of action” in considering the use of medicinal cannabinoids, and has made a series of recommendations.
Gino Kenny TD, champion of the bill mentioned above, welcomed the publication of the Oireachtas Health Committee report; which is a precursor to the HPRA report due out at the end of this month
“The need for access to medicinal cannabis for people who need it is of paramount importance and it is vital that the Dáil passes the People Before Profit Cannabis for Medicinal Use Bill through its final stages as quickly as possible,” said Mr. Kenny.