Under present legislation, only MS patients are allowed to use a mouth spray containing cannabis to reduce the pain. The mouth spray Savitex was granted a legal permission in 2015 for patients suffering from MS. However, Els Van Hoof wants this to be extended to patients to ALS patients, and to children suffering from a certain type of epilepsy. In practice, some parents are buying this oil abroad, but it is still illegal. It's the cannabidiol component which can have a soothing effect for patients.
Van Hoof underlines that she does not want a legalisation of cannabis: "A common mistake is that people see this as a legalisation of cannabis, but this is completely different. We'd better call it a therapeutic use of cannabinoids instead of medical cannabis to make clear we are talking about products which have received the scientific go-ahead after tests, to be used as a medicine."
The ALS Liga, the umbrella organisation representing ALS patients, is giving the proposal thumbs up.