Irish Health Minister Pledges to Take Action on Medicinal Cannabis

Minister makes promise to mother of child with a catastrophic form of epilepsy.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has promised the mother of an ill child that he will take action on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in January.

The Minister made the promise to Vera Twomey after she embarked on a walk from Co Cork to Leinster House in order to draw attention to the issue.


Cannabis Is the Most Popular Illegal Drug in Ireland

27.9% of respondents aged between 15-64 have used the drug.

Cannabis is the most popular illegal drug in Ireland, according to a report published earlier today.

The information was released after a joint study by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA) and the Public Health Information and Research Branch of the Department of Health in Northern Ireland.

Cannabis remains the most commonly used illegal drug with 27.9% of respondents aged 15-64 having ever used the drug.

However, there was a significant drop in pyschoactive substances with a 2.7% drop from 2010/11 figures to 0.8%.


Ireland: Research Team to Give Cannabis Plant Extracts to Arthritis Sufferers in Belfast Study

A major new study into the pain-relieving benefits of cannabis-based medication is to be carried out in Belfast.

The £250,000 project by Ulster University (UU) and pharmaceutical start-up Greenlight Medicines will examine the effects on people suffering with various forms of arthritis.

Dr David Gibson, a specialist rheumatoid arthritis researcher who will lead the UU team, said the study had the potential to transform lives.

"We will test how effective cannabis plant extracts are at reducing inflammation that often causes joint damage and disability in arthritis.

"The research will explore which compounds of the plant are the most promising and help inform dosage recommendations, before advancing to clinical tests on arthritis patients," he said.


Irish Mum Begs Health Minister: 'Legalise Cannabis Oil or My Daughter Will Die From Seizures'

Ava, six, suffered from 20 seizures on Saturday and her mum Vera fears she won't survive that again.

A mother fears her daughter will die from multiple seizures if the Government does not make cannabis oil legal for medicinal use.

Mum-of-four Vera Twomey yesterday warned Health Minister Simon Harris he will have her “daughter’s death on his conscience” unless their is a change in legislation.

Her eldest child Ava, six, suffered 20 seizures on Saturday night and Vera claimed she has tried 11 different medicines on her but they have all failed.

She insisted cannabis oil – which is legal in parts of America but not here – would greatly help to calm her daughter’s chronic fits.


Global Medicinal Cannabis Summit: A Doctor's Review

With memories of the Global Medicinal Cannabis Summit: Advancements in the Age of Cannabis still fresh in our minds, VolteFace has been particularly fortunate to receive the following in-depth review of the event – penned by Dr Callum Swift, who graduated with an MA in Neuroscience from Trinity College, Dublin.


Northern Ireland: Ex police chief in cannabis rethink call

A former deputy chief constable has said it may be time to reconsider de-criminalising cannabis.

Alan McQuillan told the BBC the current attitude to drugs was "creating a cash cow for organised crime, especially in relation to cannabis".

He said police needed to focus on paramilitaries as the source of the drugs problem in Northern Ireland.

The former policeman was taking part in a BBC Talkback discussion about drug dealing in Northern Ireland.

"I think there is real scope for de-criminalising cannabis," he said. "The time has come to consider it."

Mr McQuillan said the focus needed to be on teaching parents and children about the reality of the drugs trade.


Ireland: GreenLight Medicines Gets €500,000 to Explore Medicinal Cannabis

As well as the funding from a group of Irish investors, Isodiol is providing €1.25m.

Pharmaceutical start-up GreenLight Medicines has secured €500,000 in funding as it seeks to develop “breakthrough medicines” using cannabis extracts.

The company, which primarily focuses on exploring the “full potential of cannabis and cannabinoids as a medicine”, secured the phase-two funding from a consortium of private Irish investors. It follows an initial €100,000 seed investment.

The new funding will enable the company to “further progress” its Irish and UK research in advancing medicines using cannabis extracts (cannabinoids) and other plant-derived molecules to treat a variety of illnesses.


Crucial conversations: how to talk to your teen about drugs

Psychiatrist Dr Owen Bowden-Jones explains why starting discussions about drugs early can be crucial when it comes to educating your teens on the dangers of legal and illegal highs.

DISCOVERING your child is taking drugs is every parent's nightmare, and most would go to great lengths to ensure illegal substances – or even legal highs – are never part of their child's world.

But ongoing conversations about drugs with children, starting well before the age they're likely to first be offered them, may be all it takes to prevent experimentation.


Psychiatrist and addiction expert Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, who's written a book called The Drug Conversation to help parents navigate the thorny issue, explains:


More US Adults Are Using Marijuana as They Don't Think It's Harmful

AN INCREASING NUMBER of US adults are using marijuana, as fewer people perceive the drug as harmful, according to a survey of over 500,000 people.

The study analysed data from 596,500 adults who took part in the annual US National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2014.

Marijuana use (defined as having used marijuana in the previous year) increased from 10.4% in 2002 to 13.3% in 2014. The proportion of adults who first started using marijuana in the previous year increased from 0.7% in 2002 to 1.1% in 2014.

The prevalence of daily or near daily use (defined as people who use marijuana, on average, five days or more per week) increased from 1.9% to 3.5% over the same period.


Record Rise in Seizures of Cannabis Smuggled in Post Across South Africa and Spain​

Customs & Excise report 10-fold increase with most from South Africa and Spain. 

The number of cannabis seizures being made in the Republic’s postal service has reach record levels.

Customs & Excise officers have seen a near 10-fold increase in seizures in the last five years and, despite that level of growth, seizure numbers almost doubled last year.

The vast majority of seizures involve herbal cannabis being imported into the State via the postal service from Spain and South Africa.

Security sources believe while some of the finds belonged to gangs experimenting with smuggling routes to test how effective searching in the postal system is, most of the finds result from orders for the drug placed online.


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