File photo: Brennan Linsley/AP/TT
But Karl Mikael Kälkner of the Swedish Läkemedelsverket (Medical Products Agency, MPA), told news agency TT that the decision was “not an approval of the use of cannabis in general”.
The decision was made in relation to two patients with back injuries, after doctors applied to the MPA for a license to prescribe cannabis for their pain, reports broadcaster SVT.
“I am happy that the MPA has taken the pragmatic step of making [cannabis] available for patients with chronic pain which no approved drug can relieve,” Fredrik von Kieseritzky, doctor of organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry, who advised the doctors involved with the two patients, told TT.
Licensing regulations mean that permission to prescribe must be applied for with each individual patient. The two approved patients will be supplied cannabis via a Dutch company that the government uses for the supply of cannabis for medical use and research.
“It can be dissolved in butter and baked. Of course it can be smoked, but we advise strongly against this. For me personally it is important to keep a watertight distinction between medicinal and recreational cannabis,” said von Kieseritzky.
The MPA underlined that the decision should not be perceived as a general approval for medicinal cannabis, and that there are obvious risks associated with the treatment.
“There is clearly some potential for abuse. This is a drug that is illegal to possess and consume. But we have other medicines that are also classed as narcotics. If the rules are correctly followed than there is no reason that [cannabis] should not be used as a preparation in a clinical setting,” said Kälkner.