The Health Products Regulatory Authority has been asked to provide expert scientific advice on medicinal cannabis by Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Mr Harris said he wanted to review current policy and have the latest evidence on the potential medical benefits of cannabis for some people with certain medical conditions.

He insisted this was not about decriminalising cannabis in any way.

The Oireachtas Health Committee is also planning to discuss the issue later this month.

Medicinal cannabis is available in a number of countries including the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Canada, Australia, Malta, Croatia and some states in the US.

Yesterday a Cork woman decided to end her protest march to Dublin over a campaign to get a cannabis-based medicine, for her six-year-old daughter who has a rare form of epilepsy.

Vera Twomey began her walk and after 33km received a call from Minister Harris saying he would meet her next Wednesday in Dublin.

Her daughter Ava has Dravet Syndrome and requires round the clock care due to the level of severe seizures she suffers from.

The family are looking for a CBD cannabis oil called Bedrolite made in the Netherlands to be legalised here.

It is different to the drug Epidiolex, a cannabis-based medicine for treating the syndrome, which is undergoing clinical trials in Europe.

In July, AAA-People Before Profit TD Brid Smith tabled proposed legislation to allow cannabis products for medicinal use here.

The bill has been championed by her colleague Gino Kenny and is expected to be debated during Private Members' time at a later stage.

In July 2014, the Misuse of Drugs Regulations were amended to allow for certain cannabis-based medicines here. 

Later, the Health Products Regulatory Authority granted a marketing authorisation for Sativex, a cannabis-based medical product for certain symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

Under European and Irish law, before a medicine can be put on the market here, the makers have to get authorisation from the HPRA.

No application for a marketing authorisation for Epidiolex for the treatment of Dravet Syndrome had been submitted here.

Where a medicine is not authorised, it can still be imported, if prescribed by a doctor for a patient under his or her care and on his or her direct responsibility, to meet the special needs of a patient.

This is under the System for Exempt Medicinal Products operated by the HPRA.

Health authorities say that Epidiolex has been prescribed and imported into Ireland, under the exempt medicinal product route, in response to a bona fide order from a registered doctor.