As we have informed in June, Polish Parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill legalizing the use of cannabis for certain medical conditions. President Andrzej Duda signed it into law on the 20th of July, making Poland yet another European country where severely ill patients will be able to legally buy cannabis and products made from. But there are some drawbacks as we found out.
“This is just a first step on the long road for patients, who may benefit from medical cannabis, and doctors, who would like to recommend this herb without fear,” explains Dr. Marek Bachánski, the most famous Polish medical specialist advocating for therapeutic uses of cannabis. As a renowned pediatric neurologist, Bachánski made national headlines two years ago when he was fired from a large Child Health Center in Warsaw after it had been revealed that he treated nine epileptic children with cannabis.
“It was great to see that lawmakers agreed almost unanimously on creating a certain legal frame, which would allow sick people to use medical cannabis without fear of prosecution. The problem is the new law doesn’t allow local production so we’ll have to import all medical cannabis and products made from it,” says Dr. Bachánski. However, some experts point out that with an ever-growing number of people using this plant for medical purposes in Europe, there may soon be a lack of standardized cannabis available for import to Poland. At the moment, there are only two countries exporting medical cannabis to other states – the Netherlands and Canada.
When asked why he’s put his career and reputation at risk and keeps supporting the therapeutic uses of cannabis, Dr. Bachánksi claims that “there are many patients in Poland who can’t be helped by traditional pharmaceuticals and whose only relief comes from cannabis. This includes patients with severe forms of epilepsy (such as Dravet Syndrome), multiple sclerosis and cancer patients.”
Support is Growing
According to Dr. Bachánski, one of the biggest advantages of medical cannabis legalization is the fact that more and more Poles will be realizing cannabis is not “devil’s weed” – a dangerous drug without any positive effects. “Only three years ago, polls were showing a little support for medical cannabis among general public, but today the situation is very much different – most people don’t think there is anything wrong or bad about sick people who are using this plant. Polish public and politicians have finally realized that patients should have legal access to this drug, if it eases their suffering and make them better.” Marek Bachánski believes the more people talk about this issue, the bigger the chance the flaws of this new law will be fixed.
This is also why he got together with an author Dorota Mirska-Królikowska and wrote a book called Marek Bachánski, Doctor of Impossible. The Whole Truth about Medical Cannabis (currently available only in Polish). In this publication, Dr. Bachánski explains how cannabis helps improve human health and, most importantly, presents several cases of his own severely ill patients, who found an effective remedy in medical cannabis after modern medicine with all its pills and treatments failed to provide effective help.