While Greece has seen keen interest from medical marijuana companies wanting to jump into the market there, reluctant Cypriot doctors are holding it back because of a lack of experience with the substance.
That was a report in The Cyprus Mail which noted marijuana is now legal for certain patient groups on the island as the market is expanding rapidly now in Europe after blossoming in the United States.
The hesitation of health professionals to prescribe the drug has limited its use, slowing potential investments as well, the report said, adding that the law allows the licensing of three producers but none have been yet.
In Cyprus there is almost no market, the report said. “Doctors here lack the necessary training and experience with legal cannabis. One must have the knowledge to prescribe the exact dosage that the patient needs” an expert source close to the Health Ministry told the paper.
Dr. Kyriakos Stylianides has been an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana use for cancer patients on the island and written nearly 200 prescriptions for its use in the last three years.
He said not many local doctors are convinced of the benefits of medical marijuana, largely because they have not worked with it and with a lack of sufficient supplies making it difficult for patients to obtain it.
Stylianides said even some cancer patients can only get their hands on the drug when they are in the very final stages and they have already gone through intense chemotherapy.
That has driven some, the report said, to buy it from producers not licensed to grow or sell it but who are cultivating cannabis on the island.
“We remain trapped in the black market,” the patients association Friends of Cannabis group said on its website with no cannabis-based product authorized for distribution in Cyprus.
“Cyprus did not grant a marketing authorization for any medicinal products that contain medical cannabis” the source close to the Health Ministry told the newspaper without elaboration.
Instead, exceptions are given to individual patients whose doctors prescribe marijuana as necessary, although there is keen interest from many to use medical cannabis for their illnesses.