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Question of Legalising Cannabis for Medical Purposes Raised After Arrest of MS Sufferer in Croatia

CroatiaThe arrest of an 80% disabled multiple sclerosis sufferer in Croatia for growing 11 cannabis plants in his backyard, for which he used the cannabis oil to help treat his condition, has again raised the question of legalising the use of cannabis for medical purposes. As daily Vecernji list reports, many in the medical profession are keen to see it legalised…

When the cops turned up Huanita Luksetić’s home in Rijeka and found 22 kilograms worth of cannabis, his plea that cannabis oil was the only thing that helped his condition and relieved pain, fell on deaf ears and he was duly taken into custody. After spending more than a week locked up, he has been released on bail. With many countries in the world legalising cannabis for medical purposes, such as Italy, Austria, Germany and Slovenia, Luksetić’s case has again raised the question in Croatia.

“A lot of multiple sclerosis sufferers at the Split M.S society have used cannabis oil to ease their health problems. From what I see, almost half tried the oil. It is expensive so hard to get access to. The results however were obvious. Reduction in tremors, extended period of active work, increased balance and more movement, ” said physiotherapist Goran Jugović.

Anesthetist for pain and palliative medicine at the Karlovac General Hospital, Marijana Persoli-Gudelj, recalls how the effectiveness of cannabis oil has been proven many times.

“Patients get hold of it illegally and pay a lot for it. So, legalization would stop the illegal market, improve the quality of life of patients, and in some cases the results of treatment,” Persoli-Gudelj said, adding that whilst side effects exist, they are far less than those of legal pharmaceutical drugs. Professor Lester Grinspoon from Harvard University backs that up, arguing that there has been no record of any deaths from the use of cannabis.

Now that Croatia is part of the EU, it may not be so simple to get certain laws pushed through.

“If the use of marijuana and its components is widely accepted in the EU, and especially if it will be recommended or approved by the European Medicines Agency or the World Health Organization, it is logical then Croatia would also. However, at the moment Croatian health department has a lot more important issues,” said Dr. Slavko Sakoman.

There is no real movement in Croatia to initiate procedures for the authorization of any clinical trials regarding the use of cannabis for treatment. The Ministry of Health said that there has been only once request, in 2010, which was declined.

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