The Cayman Islands have moved to import cannabis for medical purposes.

The have begun dispensing medical cannabis oils, following approval of the products for medical purposes in November 2016 after Gov. Helen Kilpatrick signed the medical cannabis bill into law.

Under the law, medical cannabis products are not permitted to be cultivated or produced on the islands, instead opting for medicinal purposes.

Canadian-based medical cannabis company CanniMed Therapeutics exported its first International shipment of cannabis oil to the Cayman Islands, as a way of testing the territory’s potential as an export market.

The company exported its first international shipment of cannabis oils this month, including 12,960 milliliters to a pharmacy in Jamaica. The shipment makes Canada the second country, after Jamaica, to export cannabis oils to the Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Compass reports that theFoster’s Food Fair-IGA pharmacy received its first shipment of the oils from Jamaica last month but in limited quantity for one patient. According to pharmacist Michael Anderson, they are now hoping to establish stock from Canada and will reserve Jamaica’s more potent product for special orders.

Meanwhile, Grand Cayman’s CTMH Doctors Hospital & Cayman Pharmacy Group will prescribe and dispense the oils for treatment of serious, chronic, conditions such as epilepsy and cancer, and as a pain reliever for rheumatoid and osteoarthritis symptoms. The hospital is being supplied by Canada’s CanniMed Therapeutics Inc., and the products will be imported by Caribbean Medical Distributors Ltd (CMD). Hospital officials indicated that the initial phase will see cannabis oils dispensed to a small number of physician-selected patients as they seek to educate themselves and track patient progress.

The hospital is being supplied by Canada’s CanniMed Therapeutics Inc., and the products will be imported by Caribbean Medical Distributors Ltd (CMD). Hospital officials indicated that the initial phase will see cannabis oils dispensed to a small number of physician-selected patients as they seek to educate themselves and track patient progress.

“Professional Pharmacy will consider prescriptions for cannabis oil from all licensed prescribers. Patients are encouraged to seek medical advice on this therapy directly from their physicians,” the hospital said in a press release.

“There will be follow-up phone calls from the pharmacists themselves to closely monitor each patient. The pharmacist will also provide feedback for the physicians and together they will work towards an individually tuned treatment plan.”

The release stated that multiple continuing education events and training on these new medical advancements were conducted in-house during the month of April.

Officials cited case studies that show “life-changing results” with medical cannabis use for patients suffering from “chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and seizures.”

The treatment is approved for use only in the Cayman Islands and cannot cross international borders legally. Patients cannot carry medical cannabis oils into the United States, UK or Canada, even with a prescription.

Jamaica moved to decriminalize cannabis in 2015 and has set up a tiered licensing system that allows for cultivation, processing, transport, retail, and research and development.

Jamaica’s Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has recently issued approval to growing operations and but has yet to establish any terms for export.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda has announced that approval has been given for the granting of two licences, according to the Jamaica Observer.

During his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Tuesday (May 9), Minister Samuda announced that the CLA granted approval for the Tier 1 Cultivator and Tier 1 Processor licences.

The Tier 1 Cultivator licenses are for farms of up to one acre, and Tier 1 Processor licenses are for the processing of ganja for medical, scientific and therapeutic purposes, including the manufacturing of ganja-based products.

Both licenses represent the smallest scale of operation within the legal licensing framework, the release said.

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