Irish Health Research Board Finds MS Benefits From Marijuana


Big news here in Ireland in the past weeks. The Health Research Board (HRC) released a review of the use of medical cannabis (marijuana) for symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS). HRC is the lead funding agency for health research in Ireland. It oversees a €45 million investment in health research activity each year. It was established in 1986.

While the review found no conclusive evidence of effectiveness of medicinal cannabis in treating anxiety or pain in cancer, the benefits in MS seemed to “significantly benefit the treatment of nerve pain underlying conditions such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes.”

Here in Ireland, there are already prescribing guidelines for doctors on the use of medicinal cannabis for spasticity in multiple sclerosis. The acknowledgment of the substance for pain relief could be of benefit to many of the estimated 8,000 people in the country (out of just over five million residents) diagnosed with the disease.

Incremental Progress

While many of our readers will be accustomed to access to medicinal cannabis in their home states and countries, it was only in 2019 that we had it here, with the establishment of Medicinal Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP). MCAP allows for a very limited access to prescribed cannabis-based treatment for a small number of conditions, where the patient has not responded to standard treatments.


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