France Begins It’s First Trials Of Medical Marihuana.
FRANCE has moved forward with its first medical marihuana experiment after liaising with companies that will supply products to 3,000 patients over the next two years, with the project starting in around four weeks. Advocates hope the move will lead to the drug’s legalisation for medicinal purposes.
“I tried cannabis about five years ago. I am 67 years old, and I had never smoked in my life, nor was I a drinker,” says Mado Gilanton, a French citizen who is in favour of medical marihuana. “My children got me some, and I tried it and felt better right away.”
Gilanton suffers from syringomyelia, a rare spinal cord disorder, as well as a chiari malformation, a structural defect that pushes the lower part of the brain into the spinal canal – both cause him extreme, chronic neuropathic pain and spasticity.
Five to six million people in France suffer from neuropathy, or nerve pain, which does not respond to standard painkillers or opioids. Gilanton, who heads an organisation for people with her type of disorder, says patients looking for solutions to their pain are holding out hope for medical marihuana.
The legality of medical marihuana in France and it’s use
Although 21 EU states have authorised its use, medical marihuana is not legal in France. Some patients use it on their own, says Laure Copel, an oncologist at the Diaconesses hospital in Paris, which raises issues about where it comes from. “If you get it from the dealer on the corner, you don’t really know the quality, and there can be accidents,” she says.
Cannabis has been shown to work for the treatment of disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Nadine Attal, a pain specialist at the Ambroise-Paré hospital in Paris, says it has shown promising results in studies on pain.
“There is a group of patients who respond very, very, very well to this product, particularly those who have chronic pain that is resistant to everything else,” Attal says.
Cannabis is very interesting in palliative care, says Copel, who has spent 24 years helping to increase the comfort levels of cancer patients and those with incurable diseases. Her patients are not only dealing with pain but also other symptoms like nausea and fatigue. Cannabis can be used to wean patients off other pain or anxiety medication and, because it’s plant-based, it’s “closer to aromatherapy than a medication,” Copel added.
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