The month of May will be marked in France as the day on which the Senate first gave the green light to medical cannabis. The new proposal will enter a two-year experimental phase, and is only awaiting full approval from the French Ministry of Health.

“The program will consist of an experience of about two years with cannabis for therapeutic use, once there is a green light and funding from the Ministry of Health,” said Professor Nicolas Authier, head of the department of pharmacology and pain medical center. from the University Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand, contacted by France24.

Nicolas Authier chairs the expert committee, created by the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM). This committee was constituted to carry out an assessment regarding “the implementation terms available to carry out the project“, and the publication of this committee's report is scheduled for 26 June.

Experiments under controlled conditions

The conditions under which the project will take place are not yet known, but they are expected to follow current standards and good practices required for the production of cannabis for medicinal purposes. In France “at the moment, there is no authorization to produce therapeutic cannabis”, recalls Nicolas Authier, who continues: “(The plantations) will be in closed fields, under greenhouses, and will require significant investments”.

During the trial, which theoretically could last until the second quarter of 2021, “the import of pharmaceutical preparations (from countries where therapeutic cannabis is legal) is likely to be required. At least for the time necessary for French companies to structure their own projects”, explains the chairman of the ANSM expert committee.

These changes in regulation – after the green light from the Ministry of Health – will only allow the experimental exploration of medicinal cannabis, however, the deputy Jean-Baptiste Moreau will ask “soon” for an informative report on the different uses of cannabis in France . “We are talking about therapeutic cannabis for now, but eventually it will also include cannabis-based wellness products (oils, dietary supplements) with a very low THC content,” says the deputy.