MADRID: Spanish lawmakers approved Monday a text calling for the medical use of cannabis to be widened, paving the way for its sale in pharmacies within the next six months.

Spain currently allows only two drugs containing cannabis derivatives to be administered in hospitals -- one to treat muscle stiffness linked to multiple sclerosis and another for epilepsy seizures.

The text approved Monday by parliament’s health commission urges health authorities to allow the sale in pharmacies of “extracts or standardised preparations of cannabis that do not have marketing authorisation today.”

It also calls for greater research in the field of medicinal cannabis.

The text gives Spain’s medicines agency AEMPS six months to implement the change.

Around 50 nations around the world allow the use of cannabinoids to treat conditions ranging from the side effects of chemotherapy, endometriosis or for palliative care.

The sale and consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes will remain prohibited in Spain. — AFP