There is considerable public and political interest in the use of cannabis products for medical purposes despite the paucity of robust clinical evidence. The task force of the European Pain Federation (EFIC) conducted a survey with its national chapters representatives on the status of approval of all types of cannabis-based medicines, the covering of costs and the availability of a position paper of a national medical association on the use of medical cannabis for chronic pain and for symptom control in palliative/supportive care.
The results showed marked differences between the countries represented in EFIC in the approval and availability of cannabis-based products for medical use. There are striking differences between European countries in the availability of plant-derived and synthetic cannabis and of medical cannabis for pain management and for symptom control in palliative care and in the covering of costs by health insurance companies or state social security systems. The differences might reflect disparities in the health care systems and their financial endowment as well as the national political situations and public perception of appropriate therapies.
To overcome these differences further scientific research is required in the aim to determine the efficacy and safety of cannabis-based medicines as well as the recommendations for their appropriate use and the collaboration with European medical cannabis programs.
Full article is published as:
Krcevski Skvarc N, Wells C, Häuser W. Availability and approval of cannabis-based medicines for chronic pain management and palliative/supportive care in Europe: a survey of the status in the chapters of the European Pain Federation. Eur J Pain 2018; 22:440-454.