French scientist studying cannabis

France promises free medical cannabis as part of experiment

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The French Government has announced plans to fund a major study into the clinical use of medical cannabis, promising free cannabis to participants. 

While the medical cannabis industry in Europe was worth 260 million Euros in 2019, France’s lack of medical cannabis research has left the country behind. Now, the French government is funding an experiment that will be used to inform the regulation, treatment, and distribution of medical cannabis within France. 

Reports released earlier this week have confirmed that up to 3,000 French patients will be allowed to participate. After years of penny-pinching for medical pot, these patients will be filling their free prescriptions until as late as March 31, 2021

The experiment will be overseen by the Ministry of Health and Solidarity (MHS) and will run for two full years. While the start date is only five months away, the experiment is still in the planning stages. 

Before it can proceed, the MHS and the French Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) must decide how the experiment will operate. This includes: 

  • Which conditions medical cannabis will be prescribed for within the experiment. 
  • How the cannabis medications will be imported, stores, distributed, and controlled.
  • Which medical cannabis products will be eligible, and which doses compositions, and delivery methods.

The French government will also need to approve participating pharmaceutical companies, who will be required to provide medical cannabis products free of charge. All medications will also be assessed to ensure they meet the French Good Manufacturing Practise standards. 

As cannabis with a high THC concentration is still illegal in France, Nicolas Authier, the chair of the ANSM’s scientific committee on medical cannabis believes the experiment will only use imported cannabis. This will require participation from several French pharmaceutical laboratories with licenses for narcotics. Authier was quoted in BudSoul as saying that the experiment is a sign, as:

France is now officially committed to access to medical cannabis.”

Despite the experiment, medical cannabis will still remain a last resort for patients. 

The French parliament is yet to approve the budget for the project but has ruled that doctors and pharmacists will need to complete a specialized training program to participate in the experiment. 

It is not yet confirmed if any Australian cannabis companies are participating. 

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