Under the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 – 2016, it is open to the Minister for Health to consider granting a licence for access to medical cannabis-based preparations for named patients, where this course of treatment has been endorsed by the consultant who is responsible for the management of the patient and who is prepared to monitor the effects of the treatment over time.
To date, one hundred and twenty-six licences have been issued for the treatment of fifty-one separate individual patients via the Ministerial licence application route.
Medical practitioners and patients are encouraged to consult the Department of Health website which contains information on medical cannabis, including clinical guidance on the use of medical cannabis and details on how a medical practitioner may apply for a Ministerial licence for medical cannabis. This information can be found on the Department of Health's website.
It is important to note that the decision to prescribe or not prescribe any treatment, including cannabis treatment, for an individual patient is strictly a decision for the treating clinician, in consultation with their patient. The Minister for Health has no role in this clinical decision-making process.
In relation to the number of licence holders currently being reimbursed under the licencing system, as this is an operational matter for the HSE I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly on this matter.