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France: Flower will not be included in medical cannabis program

The French National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) has given an update on last year's medical cannabis experiment. Also included in the update is the announcement that flower will not be included in the future medical cannabis program.

Progress report
The ANSM mentions that the end of experimentation and the availability of cannabis-based medicines by 2025 are in the making. These medicines must be authorized by the ANSM by December 31, 2024, at the latest. Before then, the experiment will be extended for patients enrolled before March 27, 2024.

"Since its launch in 2021, 3,035 patients have joined the experiment, including 1,842 who continue to be monitored and treated. The data collected during the first two years of the experiment have been evaluated by various studies. They show the efficacy of medical cannabis in all the indications covered by the experiment, maintained over several months in some patients, as well as a secure and operational prescription and delivery circuit. As a result, the Social Security Financing Act for 2024 provides for the widespread medical use of cannabis by defining a status for cannabis-based medicines and the issue of authorizations by the ANSM for a period of 5 years. This means that these medicines will be accessible to patients on medical prescription in indications defined and evaluated during the experiment, according to the prescribing conditions in force defined in the LFSS 2024," the ANSM reports.

What changes?
The experiment continues: patients enrolled before March 27, 2024, will be able to continue their medical cannabis treatment as part of the follow-up program set up with their doctor. New healthcare professionals may be trained to take part in the experiment and support their patients. However, no new patients will be admitted to the trial after March 26, 2024.

The ANSM adds that medicines in flower form (flowering tops for inhalation) will cease to be available in the coming weeks. "Prescribers should therefore gradually stop treating their patients with flowers, and not initiate new treatments with this form. An action plan has been distributed to healthcare professionals."

Source (in French):

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