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02/08/2017 / By Jude Henry
It’s official – and legal. The German parliament has made it legal for doctors to prescribe cannabis for medicinal purposes throughout the country. The law takes effect on March 17, 2017, after it was initially passed in May 2016. This comes as excellent news for the untold numbers of Germans who suffer from conditions that the plant can treat. Those disorders and symptoms include chronic pain, muscle spasms, nausea that results from chemotherapy treatment for cancer, anxiety, depression, dementia and multiple sclerosis.
Hermann Gröhe, Germany’s health minister, had some promising words to say about the development. “Those who are severely ill need to get the best possible treatment and that includes health insurance funds paying for cannabis as a medicine for those who are chronically ill if they can’t be effectively treated any other way.”
What this means is that soon health insurance money will help pay for patients in Germany to get cannabis that can help to ease their health challenges and suffering. Just imagine if something like that were to happen in the United States. A simple plant that is considerably safer than many of Big Pharma’s drugs would be paid for with health insurance funds. Patients would have access to, and the ability to pay for, medicine that actually helps them. That is certainly not always the case with the often-ineffective pharma drugs typically covered by health insurance. These drugs come at great monetary cost while introducing the risk of serious and even life-threatening side effects.
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As far as sourcing cannabis, Germany’s parliament website says:
“Patients should be able to obtain dried cannabis blossoms and cannabis extracts in controlled quality on pharmacies’ prescriptions. In addition, in the case of insured persons, a claim to care with the active substances dronabinol or nabilone is also created, even in very limited exceptional cases. To ensure the supply, the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes in Germany is made possible.”
Before the new law, certain patients in Germany have been able to get medical cannabis, but the process has been more complex and resulted in longer wait times to get access to the treatment. For example, they had to get a permit from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. They also had to pay for medical cannabis themselves, rather than health insurance funds paying for it. Under the new law, patients must have exceptional medical cases that result in them having no other alternative medical options other than medical cannabis. They will also need to get a doctor’s prescription before being able to obtain medical cannabis.
The German government approved cannabis for medicinal use despite the lack of studies done by their country to prove the plant’s effectiveness and safety. There is also not a lot of information on recommended cannabis dosages. Because of this, the country will be filling in the gaps by initiating those types of research efforts in the months and years to come. Stay tuned to hear what the research shows. Results are likely to be exciting and positive.
Expect to read reports coming from Germany about people whose health has improved as a result of using medicinal cannabis. This has repeatedly been the case with patients in the United States and elsewhere who have used cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Germany joins several other countries in Europe and various states in the United States in legalizing cannabis for medicinal use. As was the case before the new law pertaining to medicinal cannabis was enacted, recreational cannabis use is still illegal in Germany. For now, the country is not expected to change its view on that type of cannabis use.
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