Cannabis on prescription?



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Cannabis on prescription soon?

(08/23/2010) Since the Emnid Institute on behalf of the "Cannabis Association as Medicine" determined that 75 percent of Germans are for the use of cannabis for medical purposes, the topic has been on everyone's lips again and the Federal Government would also like to benefit from the tremendous support that such legalization finds among the population.

The broadcaster "ntv" has now discussed the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing the use of medical cannabis in an interview with Franjo Grotenhermen, the doctor, author and chairman of the "Cannabis as Medicine" working group. Grotenhermen explained that it is currently basically in Germany There are two treatment options in which cannabis products are used: One of them is therapy with "Dronabinol", which has been prescribable as a psychoactive cannabinoid in Germany since 1998. Around 40 people have a special permit from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM However, according to the expert, such a license is very difficult to obtain, so the doctor treating the patient must explain in advance why the use of cannabis is necessary and that there are no other treatment options.

The quality of the medical reason also essentially depends on whether or not it is possible for health insurance companies to cover the costs. Holger Rönitz from THC Pharm GmbH in an interview with Heilpraxisnet explained that e.g. B. in the case of unquenchable vomiting or tumor cachexia and in palliative medicine, the chances of assuming the costs are relatively good. However, it is always a case-by-case decision by the health insurance companies and in many diseases they categorically reject the cost of a treatment, since Dronabinol “has not yet been approved in Germany under drug law, according to Franjo Grotenhermen from the“ Cannabis as Medicine ”working group. With costs of up to EUR 800 per month, this is an insurmountable hurdle for many patients.

Franjo Grotenhermen explains the high price, with the low sales figures that preclude mass production of dronabinol. In addition, the enormous safety requirements for BTM are associated with high costs for the manufacture, storage and transport of the preparations. According to Holger Rönitz, however, 800, - Euro costs per month are rather rare, as these are only possible with extremely high doses, i.e. very serious diseases, attack. This is the case in approximately 10 percent of all patients. On the other hand, the average monthly costs for a “Dronabinol” therapy are between 125 and 400 euros, said Holger Rönitz to Heilpraxisnet.de.

As a special characteristic of cannabis preparations, Grotenhermen mentions the breadth of the range of effects, whereby he speaks of three areas that can be distinguished in neurological diseases, chronic pain and the inhibition of nausea (e.g. after chemotherapy). The side effects are relatively minor. Only people with heart diseases should be careful, since preparations such as "Dronabinol" can trigger fluctuations in blood pressure and heart rate increases. There is also a risk of psychological dependency, similar to the situation with countless other preparations, the specialist also told the ntv broadcaster. In addition, abuse by individuals is ultimately never to be ruled out entirely. However, he personally believes that the abuse will not be greater than with other medications and stressed that it is wrong for fear of abuse to make patients who need cannabis medication pay for it.

Here, the consideration of the black-yellow government coalition does little to change the situation for seriously ill patients. According to the expert, only pharmaceutical companies will have the opportunity to have their cannabis-based preparations approved. As an example, Franjo Grotenhermen tells ntv the drug "Sativex" that is used against spasticity in multiple sclerosis. The approval is planned for 2011 and will only go through if the Narcotics Act has been changed by then. However, the preparation only promises help to a negligible number of patients, namely those with multiple sclerosis, who also suffer from spasticity. In the end, the federal government only implements things that have long been common in other European countries and uses this against the background of the high level of approval among the population to increase its own popularity, according to the expert Grotenhermen.

The fact that pharmaceutical companies should be given the opportunity to approve cannabis-based medication is a first step in the right direction, and since most of the companies have been researching cannabis medication for years, it is also necessary. But so far there has been no particular interest on the part of the pharmaceutical companies in producing active ingredients on a natural basis. It is preferred to research preparations that are similar to medicines derived from cannabis but are produced synthetically. This is the only way to patent the product accordingly and generate a decent profit. It does not matter that this is often at the patient's expense.

However, the specialist assumes that a large number of cannabis drugs will come onto the market in the next 10 to 15 years and that the affected patients can be helped at least to some extent. However, the changes that are now being considered do not go far enough for the "Cannabis as Medicine Working Group". (Fp)

Also read:
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Cannabis on prescription in the future
Survey: majority for cannabis use as medicine

Image: Uwe Steinbrich / pixelio.de.

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