HM Government of Gibraltar is pleased to announce the publication of the Drugs (Misuse) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 (the “Regulations”), which amend the Drugs (Misuse) Regulations 2005. The Regulations provide for the supply and possession of certain cannabis-based products for medicinal use in limited circumstances.

Registered medical practitioners working in the Gibraltar Health Authority (“GHA”) will be authorised to supply certain products to patients. Before being permitted to authorise the supply of cannabis-based products, each practitioner will first be required to complete appropriate training in respect of the use of these products. The GHA will ensure that practitioners are provided with initial training and thereafter from time to time.

Practitioners will regulate the supply of certain cannabis-based products to patients who have been diagnosed as suffering from any of the following conditions:

  1. (a)  moderate to severe muscle spasticity in multiple sclerosis that has failed to respond to standard medications;
  2. (b)  severe, refractory epilepsy that has failed to respond to standard medications;
  3. (c)  severe and life-altering pain that has failed to respond to standard and rising levels of pain control medications; and
  4. (d)  intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy despite the use of standard treatments under supervision.

Each product must be specifically approved by the GHA as safe and effective, in full consultation with practitioners, before being authorised for supply under the regulations. The regulations further specify that a patient shall not administer such products by smoking.

The authority to supply approved cannabis-based products to the public is to be limited to the GHA pharmacy located at St. Bernard’s Hospital. The availability of all products which are currently obtainable from local pharmacies, by prescription or otherwise, will not be affected by the Regulations.

Increasingly, we hear of patients deriving benefits from cannabis oils and related products to help them where conventional medications have not helped. The medical conditions that will be treated under the regulations are those that have the weight of evidence to support the success of cannabis as part of an overall treatment regime. With time, our medical advisers will review the success of cannabis and consider extending the scope of the medical conditions for which doctors will be able to recommend its use. Medicinal cannabis is a contemporary, much discussed, and frequently requested treatment option for patients.

Acting Medical Director, Dr Krishna Rawal, said: “To me, this represents a milestone in healthcare in Gibraltar. Extensive research and consultation has gone into this project, and I am beyond delighted to be a key part of this initiative. I am extremely keen to always provide patients with as many options as possible for their medical treatment, recovery, and their return to good health and wellbeing. In my considered view, cannabis oil certainly has its place in the modern medical care of some patients. Over time, I am certain that the increased use of cannabis for medical purposes will generate overwhelming evidence in support of its use.”