What Adonis Georgiadis says to ET 2024-03-03 03:07:28

With the institutionalization of the prescription of medical cannabis on the one hand and with the prohibition of all products containing the substance HHC (hexahydrocannabinol) on the other, limits and rules are introduced.

On February 15, a special code for the administration of medicinal cannabis to Greek patients was activated in the electronic prescription of HDIKA, and to date approximately 20 to 25 preparations have been prescribed.

The first formulation was administered to a female patient suffering from excruciating pain due to psoriatic arthritis by the anesthesiologist and president of the Hellenic Medical Society for Cannabinoids, Chrysoula Karanastasi, who spoke to “ET” for the correct use of the medicine.

The effectiveness of medically administered cannabis in the relief of diseases, such as depression, chronic pain, anxiety, but also in the palliative care of end-stage cancer patients is still under scientific investigation. However, the number of patients who declare that they have found relief and comfort through the medicinal use of this ancient plant is not negligible.

“There is often confusion and misunderstanding and false expectations among patients. Cannabinoids are given to treat the symptoms that arise during a medical condition. Or to help with side effects caused by treatments for a condition,” says Ms. Karanastasi.

Indications for cannabis prescription in Greece have four specific categories:

  1. Nausea and vomiting that occurs during chemotherapy, whether for cancer or HIV/AIDS.
  1. Pain and spasticity in neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
  1. Intractable chronic pain and especially neuropathic pain, when patients do not respond to conventional treatments or experience side effects.
  1. End-of-life patients receiving palliative care.

For the above indications, anesthesiologists, neurologists, pathologists specializing in Oncology or Infectious Diseases and rheumatologists have the right to prescribe.


Ms. Karanastasi clarifies that cannabis medicine is not first-line, while doctors do not administer it at the patient’s request, except when they themselves judge that it can help them. The side effects are very serious, she says. And for this reason the preparation is contraindicated:

  • In children and adolescents.
  • In patients with hypersensitivity to the active substances (cannabidiol and/or Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) or to the Cannabis sativa L. plant.
  • During pregnancy and lactation and in patients planning to give birth.
  • In patients with a history of psychotic illness.

Administration is also contraindicated in patients with cardiac diseases, in those taking anticoagulants, antiepileptics and several antibiotics.

About addiction

Can one become addicted to the use of medicinal cannabis?

Those who are susceptible and predisposed to addictions are not excluded from showing symptoms of addiction, the doctor says, although the addiction to cannabis is considered weaker than that which accompanies the addiction to alcohol or nicotine.

And there are significant differences between patients who use for relief from their health problems and people who seek recreational use.

“Patients don’t want their higher cortical functions affected, so to speak. They are not looking for the euphoria that THC can bring to the human body. They want to be functional, they don’t want to be dizzy, they don’t want to lose their ability to be effective in their daily life, in their work, in their family, in their children, in their partner. Patients, therefore, are not looking for the euphoric effects of cannabis and that is why they generally use the lowest possible doses than those used by people who resort to the use of cannabis for recreational reasons”, concludes the scientist.


“Some people’s lives just got a little better”

The Minister of Health, Adonis Georgiadis, with Anna Paga, the first patient who was given the first prescription drug.

“I am extremely happy that I have finally been able to be of service to thousands of my fellow citizens who suffer from chronic pain. When I became Minister of Development and Investment and took over the portfolio of industry and therefore medicinal cannabis, I was not fully aware, mainly because of stereotypes of the past, how much this medicine could really help people. Five years later, having signed as the Minister of Development and Investments all the relevant legislation for the licensing of the relevant industries and as the Minister of Health all the relevant decisions for the release of the first finished medicinal cannabis products, I feel, as I told you, great joy. And this is because the lives of some people became a little better and, at the same time, Greece acquired a new productive sector in its economy that can provide jobs and many exports”.

#Adonis #Georgiadis

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