Chronic pain group says cannabis should not be freely available
Cannabis should not be made freely available in Ireland, according to the chairman of Chronic Pain Ireland, even though several US states have legalised its use for people suffering serious illnesses.
Speaking ahead of World Day Against Pain, Mr John Lindsay, the head of the group which represents people living with chronic pain, said there was no solid evidence
that it helped.
Supporters of cannabis use argue that ingesting the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) component found in cannabis plants cultivated for recreational use relieves aches.
Debate has increased in Ireland regarding the merits of legalising cannabis, be that oil, vapour or the dried product, as part of a regulated system. People Before
Profit TD Bríd Smith proposed legislation earlier this year seeking to allow possession for medicinal use.
However Mr Lindsay said: “There is no evidence worldwide, including from the United States, that medicinal cannabis actually works for people with chronic pain.
“It wears off after a few hours and you have to keep taking the cannabis, and nobody knows what the long-term effects of taking cannabis are, depending on how you take it.”
Mr Lindsay did, however, voice support for GreenLight Medicines, which was recently awarded funding of €500,000 to test cannabis extracts in treating illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis, glaucoma, arthritis and cancer.
The products being tested rely on the cannabidiol (CBD) element of the plant, which research suggests is more effective at providing pain relief than the psychoactive THC component.
Meanwhile, new research commissioned by Chronic Pain Ireland shows that nearly 9 in 10 chronic pain sufferers in Ireland are reluctant to discuss their condition with
friends or family members.
Most of the 501 survey participants said they did not want to “bore” or “annoy” acquaintances by discussing their discomfort, while almost a quarter of respondents said colleagues, employers or doctors were unsympathetic or downplayed their pain.
In response to this finding, the group has published a list of 10 things not to say to someone with chronic pain, including “it’s all in your head”, “everyone has pain” and “you should learn to live with it”.