‘Cannabis is more of a medicine than a drug’: Ireland’s health minister

An Irish doctor is calling for an urgent ban on the use of cannabis as a painkiller in Ireland.

Dr Simon Donnelly said the medicinal value of cannabis could outweigh the potential risk of addiction and misuse.

The Irish Medical Association said it supported the move but called on the Government to allow further studies to be carried out.

The medical association is also calling for a review of the legal status of cannabis in Ireland, following a series of controversial trials involving the drug in the UK.

Dr Donnelly is one of several medical experts who have spoken out against the use and abuse of cannabis.

“Cannabidiol is one element of the cannabis plant that is psychoactive, it has the ability to be used in medicinal purposes,” he said.

“The potential is huge.”

If you are thinking of using cannabis to treat pain and anxiety and you’re thinking of it as a recreational drug you are putting yourself at risk.

“It is highly addictive and it’s an addictive substance.”

Dr Donnello is also the founder of the Medical Cannabis Council and has been campaigning against cannabis prohibition for nearly three decades.

The council is calling on the Minister for Health to introduce a blanket ban on cannabis use in Ireland as a medicine.

The Government has so far rejected the request and said it will not change the current law.

Dr Paul Hogan, the Minister responsible for the health portfolio, said that the government will continue to support research into cannabis use and its possible medicinal benefits.

“I am very happy with the research into medicinal benefits and the current legal status.

The government is committed to making the medicinal benefits of cannabis known to all in the community, Dr Hogan said.

He said that cannabis is not a gateway drug, and is not illegal under the law.”

As a society we have to take a look at how we use drugs,” he added.”

We need to be responsible in the health and wellbeing of the people we are dealing with, including in relation to alcohol and tobacco.

“That is why I have decided to work with our Health Ministers to develop a blanket policy to ensure we have the safest country in the world in which to use drugs.”

Dr Hogan said the ban would also be enforced as far as possible to prevent abuse of the drug.

“There are people who will still use cannabis in certain circumstances but I don’t want to encourage people to do so.”

People who use cannabis should be given an opportunity to do it responsibly, that is how I view it,” he told the programme.”

A blanket ban would be a step too far and would make us more vulnerable in terms of enforcement.

“Mr Hogan said that he was concerned about the impact of a blanket prohibition on the Irish cannabis industry, saying that it would “defeat the whole point of it” and “definitely affect our industry”.”

It’s just not going to work,” he admitted.”

When you have a blanket and you have no control over what is happening with it you will be more susceptible to abuse and misuse.

“Dr Simon Donelly is a leading cannabis expert and a doctor with the University of Limerick’s College of Health Sciences.

He has been speaking out against a ban on medical cannabis for over three decades.(ABC News: John Byrne)He said the government was currently considering a number of measures to address the medicinal use of marijuana, including an increase in the legalisation of recreational cannabis.

However, he said the Government was not considering any changes to the current legislation.”

Currently we have a clear path forward for the medicinal cannabis legislation, which is in place, which we have been working with the Minister of Health for several years,” he explained.”

And we have made that clear in our submission to the Minister last year, which the Minister accepted.

“Dr Donelly said that if the current policy was not changed the medical benefits of medicinal cannabis would be lost, with the potential for addiction and abuse.”

My concern is the medicinal benefit would be diminished.

The potential for abuse is there, but the potential is not there,” he argued.”

You have a lot of people using it who will continue and it will just become a much more dangerous drug.

“Dr Donna Kelly, from the Irish Centre for Medical Cannabis, welcomed the call for a ban.”

In the US we have seen that people who are suffering from serious illnesses like cancer or Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis, or who are on medication for their illnesses, have an increased need for cannabis to manage their symptoms,” she said.”(But) in the past there have been no reports of any deaths related to cannabis use.

“Ms Kelly said that research had found that there was no significant difference between the effects of cannabis on cancer patients and those suffering from other conditions.

She said there was a “very strong case” that the medicinal effects of the plant could outweigh its potential risks.”

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