A report published today recommends that medicinal cannabis be made available to patients with specified medical conditions.
It is among a number of recommendations contained in the Cannabis for Medical Use report, which was published by Minister for Health Simon Harris.
The report makes eight recommendations and was compiled by the Health Products Regulatory Authority.
It states that cannabis has potential therapeutic benefits, but there is a need for robust evidence to be generated through clinical research in patients.
It recommends that cannabis should only be available for the treatment of patients with specified medical conditions; for those who have not responded to other treatments; and where there is some evidence that cannabis may be effective.
The report also says that such patients should also be under the direct supervision and monitoring of a medical consultant.
The specified conditions are: spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis; intractable nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy; and severe, refractory or treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Mr Harris said it is a milestone report and as a result he has decided to establish a compassionate access scheme for cannabis-based treatment.