What does a legal cannabis market in Germany mean for medical access?

What does a legal cannabis market in Germany mean for medical access?
Cannabis Health News

Germany is likely to legalise the adult-use of recreational cannabis in 2024, but what does this mean for the country’s medical cannabis community?  Cannabis is not a dirty secret in Germany. Tens of thousands of patients—potentially more than 1% of the population—benefit from medical access, with the country’s medical cannabis market one of the largest and most developed in Europe. Additionally, according to German Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach, an estimated four million people already access cannabis through the country’s illegal legacy market. Now that Germany’s government has announced plans to legalise the recreational use of cannabis for adults, questions remain around how this could affect access to medical cannabis treatments for current and future patients and how the medical and recreational markets can co-exist.  Germany’s medical cannabis landscape  In March 2017 an amendment to Germany’s Narcotic Drugs Act enshrined access to medical cannabis into law. While some cannabinoid-based medicine had previously been allowed via a special permit in very rare cases, medical cannabis was not widely available and could not be covered by a patient’s health insurance.  Germany’s Medical Cannabis Act of 2017 provided unprecedented access to cannabis-based treatments in the country and, for the first time, allowed medical cannabis products to be covered by Germany’s statutory health insurance.  “In this respect, access for patients to therapies with cannabinoid-based medicine is theoretically easier, compared to the UK,” writes Franziska Katterbach, president of Khiron Europe, in correspondence with Cannabis Health. “But de facto access is often hindered by bureaucratic and other hurdles.” One hurdle is insurance. Not all patients in Germany are getting their insurance claims covered, with up to 40% of applications for insurance reimbursement rejected by firms. Based on research carried out by Cansativa, a leading local platform for medical cannabis in Germany, about half of medical…

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