Medical safety agency in France authorizes two-year cannabis trial for patients

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Patients who require medical cannabis in France could be in luck. According to an announcement from the ‘Assemblée Nationale’, a select number of patients will have the opportunity to experience the plant’s therapeutic properties as part of a new trial.

Stretching over two years, the trial was successfully approved during votes for the looming 2020 social security proposals. A voting session that saw France’s two-year medical cannabis trial get the green light commenced on Friday, October 25.

MP Olivier Véran initiated the trial, which was approved by the medical safety agency ANSM (Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des Produits de Santé).

Patients resistant to treatment could benefit from France’s two-year medical cannabis trial

Based on details contained in a press release, France’s two-year medical cannabis trial would welcome patients who are resistant to existing treatment options; defined as “treatment impasse”.

The plant must be prescribed to patients on a “therapeutic” basis, as a means of determining its efficacy. France’s two-year medical cannabis trial would also be open to cancer patients who are enduring unwanted side effects caused by chemotherapy, as well as those in-need of palliative care.

Moreover, trial participants might also be struggling to cope with treatment-resistant epilepsy, neuropathic pain and involuntary muscle spasms.

France’s two-year medical cannabis trial will educate medical professionals

The forthcoming medical cannabis trial in France will not only benefit prospective patients who wish to learn more about the benefits, risks and uses for medical cannabis but also, doctors and medical professionals.

Currently, there is an absence of research into the cannabis plant and its naturally-occurring compounds. With France’s two-year medical cannabis trial set to commence in the near future, doctors and licensed healthcare professionals could get a better insight into how the plant’s active compounds work with the human body.

Medical experts can capitalize on this opportunity to better understand the potential of treating widespread medical conditions using cannabis, not to mention any possible side effects that may occur during treatment. Knowledge of this kind is essential for ensuring that doctors make a correct diagnosis, should medical cannabis in France become legal.

“We are in favor of this test, on the condition that it is monitored by a medical team. It is not ethical to let patients who cannot be sedated or soothed by existing medicines to suffer. People for whom pain leaves them no quality of life. There are definite benefits [of cannabis] …for people whose pain is not helped by existing medicines,” said spokesperson for patient advocacy union France Asso Santé, Catherine Simonin, adding that, “we must identify all of the side effects, including those that may be serious. There is also the risk of addiction, and we must be sure that there is no lessening of its impact, and that there are no risks for certain organs.” Simonin also assumes therole of vice-president of French anti-cancer group, la Ligue Contre le Cancer.

It should be noted that France’s two-year medical cannabis trial does not promote recreational use of the drug.