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EU Parliament calls for medicinal cannabis to be covered by public health

In Finland this would mean that cannabis therapies would be partially covered by national health insurance agency Kela.

Kannabis kukinto
File photo of cannabis plant. Image: Jon Santa Cruz / AOP
Yle News

Last week MEPs voted to adopt a resolution on the medicinal use of cannabis which asked for an EU-wide legal definition of medicinal cannabis to be established, in order to distinguish it from other uses of the plant.

According to the parliament, adopting clear policy on medical cannabis would benefit the safety and quality of the drug, saying that several EU member states have already legalised the medical use of some forms of cannabis, or are considering it.

Medical cannabis therapies are available to a handful of patients in Finland, but it is not commonly prescribed.

The authors of the resolution (siirryt toiseen palveluun)also called on member states to boost funding for medicinal cannabis research .

The MEPs said that creating EU-wide guidelines on medical cannabis would help reduce abuse of the drug, thwart the trade of it on the black market and prevent young people from becoming addicted to it. The resolution also noted the policy should emphasise the safety of young people and pregnant women who receive the drug.

Kela would pay if implemented in Finland

The resolution encouraged the EU Commission and member states to loosen regulations and drop various culturally-based barriers to the use and research of medicinal cannabis.

According to the resolution, the prescription and use of effective cannabis-based drugs should be compensated by health insurance plans.

In Finland, the insurance portion of the resolution would mean that medically-prescribed cannabis would be covered by national health insurance agency Kela.

According to the MEPs cannabis and cannabinoids have been found to have multiple therapeutic effects, including appetite stimulation (to hinder weight loss in AIDS patients), and helps to alleviate symptoms from conditions including mental disorders or epilepsy, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

The MEPs noted that more research into the uses of cannabis therapies is needed.

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