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State cultivation of cannabis as medicine: first harvests scheduled for 2019
A legislative amendment has been passed in Germany that will help certain patients to have easier access to cannabis. A state cannabis agency will control the cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes in Germany. Several hundred kilos are needed. First harvests are scheduled for 2019.
Medicinal hemp for pain patients
The Federal Council recently approved an amendment to the narcotics law that makes it easier for seriously ill people to receive cannabis by prescription. The new law provides for full coverage of health insurance costs. A state cannabis agency, which is located in the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), will control and control the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes in Germany.
Cannabis is currently imported from the Netherlands and Canada
With the forthcoming entry into force of the law “Cannabis as medicine”, a cannabis agency will be set up in the BfArM, the institute reports in a message. Immediately after its establishment, the agency will start an EU-wide tendering process and then award contracts for cultivation to suitable companies.
"The aim is to ensure that seriously ill patients will be supplied with pharmaceutical-grade cannabis grown in Germany in the future," write the experts. The agency takes possession of the cannabis after the harvest, and the dispensing is then carried out through pharmacies.
"First harvests in Germany are planned for 2019," said BfArM President Karl Broich, according to a message from the dpa news agency.
According to the institute, the cultivation must first be implemented under the narcotics and drug law requirements. “It will also be possible to import cannabis beyond this point in time. Cannabis is currently being imported for medical purposes from the Netherlands and Canada, ”reports the BfArM.
365 kilos needed annually
So far, around 1,000 seriously ill people can buy marijuana for therapy. According to the dpa report, 365 kilograms of cannabis per year would be needed for them alone.
However, doctors believe that the number of cannabis therapies will increase after the release. It is said that the exemptions should expire after a three-month transition period, patients will then no longer need them.
At present, those affected usually still have to pay for the medical intoxicant themselves.
The BfArM advises patients against smoking the dried cannabis flowers. Oily solutions and drops are available as alternatives, for inhalation or swallowing.
If cannabis is smoked, then only without tobacco. Because this can reduce many of the negative health effects of cannabis, as doctors recently reported in the journal "Lancet Psychiatry".
Government continues to oppose marijuana release
"This is really not about smoking pot or joint by prescription," said State Secretary for Health Lutz Stroppe, according to dpa.
"The law does not change the Federal Government's stance on the release of cannabis: self-cultivation - even for medical purposes - and its use for intoxication purposes are prohibited," says a statement by the Federal Government.
One of the tasks of the cannabis agency is to prevent the substance from being redirected to the illegal market.
Who cannabis helps exactly
So far it has not been clearly defined which patients should receive the substance. Among other things, cannabis can help with multiple sclerosis and against chronic pain in neuropathy or rheumatism.
The active ingredient of the hemp plant is also effective in the case of loss of appetite, among other things as a result of cancer.
In addition, cannabis is said to be helpful against migraines, as US researchers reported in the journal "Pharmacotherapy".
Patients who are entitled to medical hemp and who want the costs to be reimbursed by the health insurance company must declare their willingness to participate in an accompanying research. This is to provide data on who exactly helps cannabis. (ad)