Lawmakers in the tiny EU state of Luxembourg unanimously passed a bill that will legalize the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Passed in Luxembourg City on June 28, the new law allows that medical professionals can prescribe cannabis for patients suffering from chronic pain, chemotherapy-related nausea and muscle spasm as a result of multiple sclerosis.
While the original draft of the Luxembourg medical pot law allowed only specialists to prescribe treatment, the final version permits accredited general practitioners to offer patients cannabis for chronic pain.
Luxembourg’s Health Minister Lydia Mutsch supported the new medical treatment law.
“I am pleased that the House has agreed with the bill to legalize access to cannabis for medical purposes,” Mutsch noted, according to the Luxembourg Times.
“The medical use of cannabis is an important step in our efforts to reduce the pain and suffering of some patients, where usual treatments do not allow it,” she observed.
The pain-relief substance will be imported from Canada in the form of oils and capsules, and will be available only by prescription from pharmacies located within a hospital, cited by the Luxembourg Times.
As the new law will certify only four hospitals within the 98.6-square-mile nation to provide the treatment, some legislators have criticised the legislation for being too restrictive, pointing out that rural residents without access to delivery resources may have difficulty receiving the medicine.
The new rules are also noted as potentially benefiting only those patients in the later stages of a terminal illness, and does not provide for the many other kinds of relief that medical cannabis has been clinically shown to offer.
Physician and current member of Luxembourg’s Chamber of Deputies Dr. Jean Colombera, noted that he was given “the impression it will only be used for people whose illnesses are too advanced. […] For me it should be used well before they reach this stage,” cited by Delano magazine.
“Cannabis medicines can be used to treat a far larger number of illnesses […] for example if you’ve problems sleeping or depression or pain,” he added.
Other EU countries that have shifted to using medical cannabis include Portugal, which approved the substance this month; Greece, which did so in March, and Germany, which in early 2017 legalized pain-relief treatments using cannabis.