Doctors in Cyprus are starting to write medical cannabis prescriptions. Unfortunately, it is too late for Giorgos Michael, 19, who died the day after the court agreed that medical cannabis in Cyprus should be legal.
Sadly, too late for many
Sadly, legal medical cannabis in Cyprus wasn’t only too late for Giorgos; it is too late for most of the cancer patients who applied for access and got it. Nearly one half of the applicants passed away before they got the medicine, and the opportunity to treat their symptoms.
There were long delays in the process and Evdokas says the Health Minister, George Pamboridis, is not using his position to bring about change. He prefers to maintain the status quo. Evdokas says ideologies and politics as well as personal interests are behind the delays in getting cannabis oil to Cyprus.
Medical cannabis in Cyprus: a cumbersome system
Medical cannabis patients face long waits and must have permission from the health ministry. Evdokas would like to see a Medical Cannabis Program in place to speed up the process.
Furthermore, patients use imported cannabis oil which is distributed to patients by name through pharmacies. While Evdokas agrees that government must regulate and control medical cannabis, he would like to see a faster, more responsive process.
Condition list too narrow
The Cyprus’ Friends of Cannabis group says that medical cannabis in Cyperus should go to a much broader patient base, as there are many people in need of the medication. Patients with less serious ailments who are in pain should also have access. Currently, only cancer patients can get medical cannabis.
Cyprus is ideal for growing
Instead of using imported cannabis oil, Evdokas think Vyprus should produce its own medical cannabis. He says the climate of Cyprus is ideal for growing hemp and cannabis. There are places with names like Kannaviou in Paphos, and Kannavia in Nicosia. Cannabis was cultivated there for thousands of years before global prohibition demonized the plant.
Evodkas believes that producing home-grown cannabis oil to treat medical cannabis patients would reduce the price and benefit the economy. In his opinion, Cyprus should export cannabis rather than import it.
Government “breaks the law”
Evdokas says that government is breaking the law by denying patients access to medical cannabis. We suppose he means that undue suffering and unnecessary harm result from government’s stance.
The first moves towards medical cannabis in Cyprus are baby steps, but we hope that they are only the beginning of a process that will gain momentum. After all, it is a global movement.
No matter how we may feel about recreational cannabis, medical cannabis patients don’t use marijuana for fun. If CBD can help them without psychoactive effects, that’s wonderful, but THC also has merit. If we can relieve suffering with a plant, why should politics stand in the way?