Here’s one for the record books! Althea, a global authority on medical cannabis, has just soared past regulatory hurdles, granting its cannabis-based oil the much-awaited seal of approval from Ireland’s Medical Cannabis Access Programme (MCAP). This transformative development puts Althea’s pioneering product on the free prescription list for Irish patients through the Program.
- Althea’s cannabis-derived oil named CBD12:THC10 secures official endorsement from The Republic of Ireland’s Primary Care Reimbursement Service under the MCAP.
- The oil can now be availed free of cost by patients suffering from spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).
- Althea’s approval puts it on the exclusive list of under ten products cleared by regulators for prescription under the MCAP.
- The MCAP, launched in 2019, serves to democratize access to medicinal cannabis for the Irish public primarily suffering from CINV, treatment-resistant epilepsy, and MS-triggered spasticity.
The MCAP route was first paved when the former Minister for Health, Simon Harris, initiated it back in 2019. The program aimed to streamline access to medicinal cannabis, which, however, only became fully operational in 2021. Despite the commendable concept, patient registration remained lower than projected, with less than a hundred people enlisted due to the strictly bounded selection of available products.
Fulfilling this colossal objective has seen Althea’s medical affairs team fine-tuning their application alongside the Irish regulator, over a painstaking 12-month period. This ultimate ambition? To expand the possibilities for both patients and clinicians, tweaking the face of medicinal access forever.
What Makes Cannabis-Based Medication Important for MS and CINV?
MS, a complicated, chronic, and partly understood inflammatory disease of the nervous system, currently plagues up to 9000 victims in Ireland. It disrupts the quality of life by leading to debilitating symptoms like spasticity that causes muscle rigidity, painful spasms, and crippling cramps.
CINV, on the other hand, remains a distressing fallout of cancer therapy, impacting between 45-61% of people undergoing chemotherapy. Overcoming CINV is vital to ensure continued adherence to essential, often life-saving chemotherapy treatments.
Althea’s successful bid featured a systematic evaluation of existing published research, juxtaposing the effects of whole-plant cannabis extracts on MS and relentless nausea and vomiting. Submissions were strengthened by a comprehensive literature analysis detailing the safety of cannabinoids.
What BRITISH CANNABIS™ Has to Say
This milestone moment reaffirms the transformative power of medical cannabis and its critical role in healthcare. Althea’s courageous efforts to secure regulatory approval showcase their determination to improve accessibility for patients in dire need. As leaders in the UK cannabis industry, we are vigorously optimistic about the doors that this approval will open, not just in Ireland, but globally.
Navigating through the typically self-funded option for medical cannabis, Althea has broken conventions and allowed treatment protocols to evolve. This landmark decision fosters a broader acceptance of medical cannabis and lays a foundation for further inclusion in healthcare programs everywhere. Althea and Ireland, together on this journey, are setting a precedent we look forward to seeing more of in the cannabis landscape.