Four hospitals, 60 pharmacies and up to 1,500 patients in Catalunya will take part in a year-long pilot programme sponsored by the regional government to establish the drug's effectiveness in treating a range of conditions.
'Experts agree cannabis has interesting therapeutic possibilities,' said Rafael Manzanera, Catalunya's director of health resources. 'We want to evaluate its efficacy across different groups of patients. That has never been done before.'
Patients will be prescribed cannabis capsules for four conditions: multiple sclerosis (MS); the side effects of chemotherapy; lack of appetite among Aids sufferers; and pain not eased by existing therapies.