Therapeutic cannabis has been a reality in Italy for several years now, a medical possibility that raises the hope of many people suffering from chronic diseases or highly debilitating health problems (an example: anorexia!).
Unfortunately, there are still many practical difficulties when it comes to getting your own cannabis treatment, primarily when it comes to getting a prescription. Here are some useful tips on how to apply for therapeutic cannabis and some guidance on centres and associations specializing in the support of those being treated with cannabis.
Who has the right to therapeutic cannabis
The first thing to consider is which conditions are necessary to obtain a cannabis prescription for therapeutic purposes. With the decree of November 9th 2015, the Ministry of Health regulated national production of cannabis-based pharmaceutical preparations, also specifying the destination of these products, that is the pathologies that may include the prescription of cannabinoids.
The text of the decree specifies that “the medical use of cannabis cannot be considered a proper treatment, but a symptomatic treatment to support standard treatments, when the latter have not produced the desired effects, or have caused tolerable secondary effects, or need dosage increases that could determine the appearance of side effects.”
This sentence makes us understand how cannabis is not considered a first choice therapy but a sort of alternative treatment intended for people for whom canonical therapies have been proved to be ineffective.
As for the prescription areas, these are some cases in which the prescription of therapeutic cannabis is legally accepted:
- analgesia in diseases that involve spasticity associated with pain (such as multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury) resistant to conventional therapies;
- analgesia in chronic pain in which treatment with canonical drugs has been proved ineffective and also for rheumatic diseases (arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia) or neuropathies;
- the antiemetic effect in nausea and vomiting, caused by chemotherapy, radiotherapy, HIV therapies, which cannot be achieved with traditional treatments;
- the stimulating effect of appetite in cachexia, anorexia, loss of appetite in cancer patients or those suffering from AIDS and anorexia nervosa, which cannot be achieved with standard treatments;
- the hypotensive effect in glaucoma resistant to conventional therapies;
- the reduction of involuntary body and facial movements in the Gilles de la Tourette syndrome which cannot be achieved with standard treatments.
The same document states that cannabinoid-based preparations can also be prescribed for other uses and for analgesia of all types of pain, but the cost remains at the expense of the patient or SSR if required. The prescriptive forms are currently two modes: oral (decoction) or inhalation (vaporizer).
Who can prescribe therapeutic cannabis
If considered appropriate, the primary care physician or the specialist doctors who treat the patient can prescribe medical cannabis to those who fall within the scope of the health conditions or problems mentioned above. The big problem is that, very often, doctors are unwilling to put their hands on their prescription book for this type of therapy. So, if you find yourself in front of a doctor who is reluctant to prescribe it, you can turn to specialized centres that are more familiar with therapeutic cannabis and are available for a prescription when the request is appropriate.
To obtain a prescription, advice and support regarding cannabinoid therapy, you can contact www.progettomedicomm.com, the first telemedicine portal in Italy specializing in cannabinoid therapies that provides assistance and support to patients in various areas, even at distance. It is very useful for those who live in areas of Italy where there are no specialist centres or who want more information on the prescribing possibilities of cannabis without leaving home.
Furthermore, the website www.antalgika.com founded by a group of algological doctors and specialized in pain management also with therapeutic cannabis offers the possibility of having contact with professionals of the sector who know and successfully employ the healing qualities of this plant and they operate in various Italian provinces.
It is an excellent opportunity to find, perhaps close to home, a medical specialist who can objectively evaluate the prescription of therapeutic cannabis.