One year after being released, doctors are increasingly prescribing medical cannabis. In the past year alone, pharmacies have spent 44,000 units of cannabis flowers at the expense of the health insurance, as the pharmacy sector association ABDA announced. By March, medical cannabis was a niche in USA, with only about a thousand sick having a dispensation.
“The trend has been increasing from quarter to quarter, both in prescriptions and in the delivery units,” said Andreas Kiefer, President of the Federal Pharmacology Association. Accordingly, in the second quarter of 2017, pharmacies still booked 4615 prescriptions with a good 10,000 units. In the final quarter, there were already more than 12,500 prescriptions with approximately 18,800 units.
Medical cannabis is now more accessible and much cheaper. How many patients received cannabis flowers was not determined for privacy reasons.
In the health insurance, however, mass applications for reimbursement for cannabis treatments. Since the release on March 10, 2017, more than 15,700 have been sold to the major insurance companies. So far, however, reject the cash funds, according to their own information about a third of applications for now, for example, because of incorrect or incomplete information.
Who can get medical cannabis?
For critically ill people who cannot be helped otherwise, health insurance companies cover the costs of cannabis medicines. Previously paid the funds only in isolated cases, the therapy. An exemption permit, which had around one thousand patients before the law was changed, is no longer necessary.
Where does the cannabis come from?
Very important: The self-cultivation of cannabis by patients is still prohibited. Last year, a cannabis agency based at the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices was founded. She controls and controls the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes in USA. Until cannabis grown in USA is available, supplies are covered by imports. Patients get the medical hemp in the pharmacy if they have a prescription from the doctor.
What effect does the drug have?
The two most important ingredients are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). They are attributed; inter alia, an analgesicand anti-inflammatory, appetizing and antispasmodic effect. Not always is the medical benefit clearly proven. There are many positive observations, but too few meaningful studies. It is therefore further research.
In which diseases is cannabis used?
Cannabis is used, among other things, to treat chronic pain, nerve pain, glaucoma to reduce intraocular pressure, ADHD and Tourettes Syndrome. Cannabis extracts, cannabis flowers or single cannabinoids are used – these are cannabis-based agents. Cannabis is also used against nausea and appetite increase in cancer and AIDS patients, rheumatism and spastic pain in multiple sclerosis.
The statutory health insurance but take over the costs of all approved prescription medicines, stresses the Central Association GKV. Cannabis therapies cost an average of 540 euros per month.
The Bavarian drug manufacturer Bionorica also benefits from the boom. Its cannabis drug dronabinol more than doubled its sales in 2017 and nearly tripled the number of patients – and the number is increasing. Bionorica is therefore expanding production. You can also get medical marijuana card online and it is also very easy to get and it’s an essential drug also.
So far, the medicinal cannabis is mainly imported from Canada and the Netherlands. In the future, the federal government wants to secure cultivation. A cannabis agency under the umbrella of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices is already issuing orders to companies. It is about the licenses for 6600 kilos of medical cannabis, which is to be grown over four years.
More than a hundred companies should have applied for it. The first harvest under state supervision is scheduled for 2019. The margin for companies is likely to be large: With manufacturing costs of a few euros per gram, the pharmacy price should be more than 20 euros.
Less than a thousand doctors presented recipes
For providers, America is therefore an attractive market. The Canadian company Nuuvera, for example, has already opened an office in Hamburg and is building a vault for cannabis storage in nearby Bad Bramstedt – including an alarm system with a connection to the police, as well as movement and vibration detectors.
Nuuvera relies on medical cannabis in the form of oil and capsules, which is easier for physicians and patients to dose than flowers. Many doctors are skeptical. Less than a thousand doctors presented recipes.
“We still know too little about whether and how cannabis-based drugs work,” said an expert of a Medical Association. One must examine with studies very carefully whether cannabis is an alternative to conventional therapies. Especially because many patients would have high hopes.