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Medical 'marijuana' coming to Sweden

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Medical 'marijuana' coming to Sweden
08:43 CEST+02:00
Doctors in Sweden may soon be writing prescriptions for cannabis, as the Swedish Medical Products agency (Läkemedelsverket) is close to approving a new cannabis-based mouth spray aimed at patients suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS).

However, according to specialist Hans Sjögren at the agency, the spray won't give users a high.

“To get high on cannabis you need a rather large concentration which you get if you smoke the substance or ingest higher doses. This is a relatively low concentration. You won't get a kick from it,” he told Sveriges Radio (SR)

People suffering from MS, which damages the brain and the central nervous system, often experience problems with stiffness and muscle cramps.

The spray, which is used under the tongue, has been proved to be successful in alleviating MS symptoms by a series of medical studies.

The cannabis spray is already available in the UK and Spain. Earlier this year it was approved by agencies in Germany and Denmark.

It is not strictly illegal today to prescribe medicinal cannabis in Sweden but it is a lengthy and complicated process.

The doctor has to apply for a special permit from the Medical Products Agency and if approved the closest pharmacy has to arrange a special import.

According to SR, the agency receives about fifty applications a year, a number that reflects how many people in Sweden are actually prescribed the substance.

In the US doctors have been able to prescribe marijuana to people suffering from depression, anxiety or chronic pain.

According to the company supplying the spray, the aim is to have it hit Swedish pharmacy shelves before the year is out.

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