Some people who suffer from chronic pain migrate to have access to medical cannabis because the schemes here are so restricted.

His advocacy group, Patients for Safe Access (PFSA), demonstrated yesterday outside the Ministry of Health to demand changes to the medical cannabis access program introduced three years ago.

It is limited to three conditions and must be prescribed by a specialist after the patient has been deemed unresponsive to standard treatment.

PFSA Director Martin O’Brien said the plan was very limited and people in need were actually suffering and in some cases displaced. “Despite evidence showing cannabis’ benefits in treating the chronic pain that so many people suffer from, the government has closed the door,” he said.

This means that some medical avenues will have to be exhausted before patients will be able to access the scheme, making it available to anyone who is in a condition to be treated with medical cannabis. He added that there is a need.

Among those who have had to leave Ireland is Alicia Maher, a PhD candidate at the University of Limerick. Alicia Maher moved to Spain in 2019 to legally access medical cannabis to help deal with the chronic pain she suffers from.

She had suffered from several ailments over the years that resulted in major surgery.

When she started using medical cannabis in 2018, she experienced “instant pain relief.”

However, it was so difficult to get treatment here that she was forced to move to Alicante, Spain.

she said:

“Also, many people have to travel between countries and take sick relatives on unnecessary trips.

“In my case, I had to leave my family to survive. This has to end.”

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