French Launch Committee to Review Medical Cannabis | Pierre-Yves Galléty

On Monday 10th September, the National Agency for Health and Medicines (ANSM) announced the creation of a special committee to review the evidence supporting the effectiveness of medical cannabis. The special committee is expected to deliver their first conclusions by the end of 2018.

The committee, which is due to last one year from the appointment of its members, will include therapists, neurologists, oncologists, pharmacologists, pain management specialists, and social sciences specialists. Their goal is twofold:

  • Review the evidence supporting the effectiveness of medical cannabis to treat certain medical conditions

  • Review different policies on how to provide access to medical cannabis

The issue is pressing, as all countries bordering France have already begun regulating (or decriminalising) access to medical cannabis in one way or another. If French patients were to bring back medical cannabis from across the border, they would be treated as criminals.

A recent review in the UK began smoothly with a clear determination by the Chief Medical Officer that there was sufficient evidence to reschedule cannabis.

The second issue for the committee is a far more complex and controversial one: how should medical cannabis be given to patients?

Many European countries have allowed the use of the dried flower to be smoked as a route of administration but there is a strong public health lobby in France which has advocated restrictions on smoking. The French public health policies include yearly advertising campaigns that cost millions of euros, focused solely on reducing smoking rates among the population.

Pierre-Yves Galléty leads on Hanway Associates’ French projects. For insights and advisory on developments in French please contact us or sign up to our newsletter below.