Berlin, 09/07/2022 – “Things cannot stay as they are.” This is the tenor of a joint statement by eight associations that advocate for improvements in the supply of medicinal cannabis to the population.
Controlled dispensing of cannabis to adults is being launched by the German government. A key issues paper from the German government is expected in Q4 2022 and a draft law in late 2022 or early 2023. The associations demand that in the context of the planned legalization of cannabis as a stimulant, thought is also given to the citizens who most urgently need products from the hemp plant: Patients who benefit from cannabis-based therapy. The health improvements are sometimes considerable. Many are able to work again and have a significantly improved quality of life. Although doctors have been allowed to prescribe cannabis medicines since 2017, Germany is still a long way from achieving the legislature’s goal of providing the population with an adequate supply of such medicines.
“Many patients who need cannabis for medical reasons are currently still forced into illegality or are even prosecuted,” the statement says. The reason, it says, lies in particular in the high rate of rejection of applications for reimbursement by health insurers, and the associated evasion of the illegal market. Another resulting emergency solution is the self-financing of medical treatment and medicines. “Many patients cannot afford these treatment costs and the medicines from the pharmacy for financial reasons, so that a social imbalance has arisen,” reads the analysis in the joint association paper.
“Patients with a medically certified need for cannabis-based therapy should no longer run the risk of being prosecuted,” demands Franjo Grotenhermen, MD, vice chairman of the AWorking Group Cannabis as Medicine e.V. (ACM). “The ongoing criminalization of many blameless citizens:inside, who have to treat themselves with cannabis, is unworthy of a modern and rich country like Germany. Also in the treatment with cannabis drugs, the therapeutic sovereignty must lie where it belongs, with the treating physicians.”
After five years of experience with the “Cannabis as Medicine” law, an amendment is urgently needed, she said. “Currently, almost 40% of all applications for cost coverage are still rejected by the health insurance companies, resulting in a high rate of private payer:in our pharmacies,” says Dr. Christiane Neubaur, managing director of the Association of Pharmacies Supplying Cannabis e.V. (VCA). Gero Kohlhaas from the patient association Self-Help Network Cannabis Medicine (SCM) emphasizes: “Too few physicians prescribe this highly effective therapy due to the bureaucratic hurdles. The approval requirement must be abolished in order to guarantee patients access to a necessary therapy, regardless of their financial means. At the same time, prescribing physicians must be protected from recourse.”
The demand for cannabis as a stimulant is conservatively estimated at around 400 tons per year. Maximilian Schmitt, Chairman of the Board of the German Association of Pharmaceutical Cannabinoid Companies e.V. (BPC), therefore demands, “Under no circumstances should the legal market jeopardize the supply of products for the medical sector. In order to ensure the therapeutic needs of patient:s, the demand for medical cannabis should therefore be met as a priority.”
Furthermore, the regulatory authorities of the federal states treat medical cannabis very inconsistently. “A reliable supply of patient:in with high-quality and tested products urgently needs a uniform federal framework,” says Dirk Heitepriem, Vice President of the German Cannabis Business Association e.V. (BvCW). “No matter in which federal state, physicians and patients must have the security of always receiving the same quality.”
The joint statement also emphasizes the importance of clinical research and the training of young scientists: “In order to close existing knowledge gaps, clinical research in the field of medical cannabis urgently needs to be supported by better framework conditions and research funds. The scientific findings on the importance of the endocannabinoid system for the healthy organism and the pathogenesis and treatment of diseases must also be included as a fixed component in medical and pharmaceutical teaching.”
The demands of the associations at a glance:
● Abolish the authorization requirement and ensure reimbursement for patients
● Restore therapeutic sovereignty for physicians
● Overcome social imbalance in the supply of medical cannabis
● Make the existing legal framework for medical cannabis uniform throughout Germany
● Ensure quality and safety for medical cannabis
● Prioritize supply of quality-assured cannabis-based medicines to patients
● Promote clinical research through better framework conditions as well as financial support
● Establish basic principles of the endocannabinoid system and the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in medical and pharmaceutical teaching
Associations paper Protection Medical Cannabis 09/07/2022:
Open letter Lauterbach 09/07/2022:
Open letter Blienert 09/07/2022:
Contact person for the press:
Science, medical profession and patient:inside:
Dr. med. Franjo Grotenhermen, Prof. Dr. med. Kirsten Müller-Vahl
Working group Cannabis as medicine registered association
Phone: 05233 953 72 46
Economy and pharmacists:
Vice President German Cannabis Business Association e.V.
Telefon: 0170 64 00 306
About the associations:
Working Group Cannabis as Medicine e.V. (ACM)
Contact: Dr. med. Franjo Grotenhermen, Prof. Dr. med. Kirsten Müller-Vahl
Phone: 05233 953 72 46
The working group Cannabis as medicine registered association (ACM) was created 1997 in Cologne. In it physicians:inside, Apotheker:inside, patient:inside, Jurist:inside and other interested ones from Germany and Switzerland organized themselves. Over the past 25 years, the ACM has been instrumental in improving the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids in Germany. For example, a constitutional complaint initiated by the ACM and subsequent test cases before the administrative courts paved the way for exemption permits for the use of cannabis from pharmacies in 2007 and finally for the 2017 law.
Association of German Cannabis Patients (BDCan)
Contact: Daniela Joachim
Phone: 0201 6485 08 52
The Association of German Cannabis Patients e.V. (BDCan) is a non-profit association that, through direct exchange with politicians, doctors, pharmacists, health insurance companies, MDKs and industry, works to ensure that patients are provided with high-quality cannabis medicines in various dosage forms by local pharmacies and at the expense of the statutory health insurance companies if a therapy with cannabinoids is indicated. In addition, we offer our members support in the establishment of self-help groups and provide advice in these groups as well as via our hotline and e-mail on all questions relating to therapy with medical cannabis.
German Cannabis Business Association e.V. (BvCW)
Contact: Jürgen Neumeyer
Phone: 0163 9860 888
The BvCW is the voice of the cannabis economy in Germany and represents all industry segments and company sizes to politics and administration. Our specialist areas are divided into “stimulant regulation”, “industrial hemp & food”, “medicinal cannabis”, “CBD et al.” and “technology, trade & services”. We bundle industrial policy, technological, scientific and economic expertise and advocate for better political framework conditions.
German Association of Pharmaceutical Cannabinoid Companies (BPC)
Contact: Christina Schwarzer
Phone: 030 235 939 590
The Federal Association of Pharmaceutical Cannabinoid Companies (BPC) guarantees patients the best possible supply of quality-assured medical cannabis in Germany. The association promotes a sustainable further development of cannabinoid therapies and thus simultaneously strengthens the position of the pharmaceutical cannabinoid industry in Germany and in the international market.
The aim of the BPC is the security of supply of patients with quality-assured medical cannabis. The BPC bundles the expertise of its members and is instrumental in promoting ideal cultivation and supply structures for medical cannabis. This unique combination enables the BPC to represent the interests of the German cannabinoid industry in the best possible way and to position itself clearly vis-à-vis decision-makers.
German Medical Cannabis Society (DMCG)
Contact: Dr. Konrad F. Cimander
Phone: 0162 2305216
With our visionary guiding principle “Medizinal-Cannabis – Health grows!” the German Medizinal-Cannabis Gesellschaft e.V. (DMCG) forms a platform for physicians:inside and connected occupational groups for common work around the topic Cannabis in the medicine. Founded in September 2020, the purpose of the still young professional society is to promote and support scientific and practical work on research into the mode of action as well as the fields of application of cannabis-containing medicines for the prevention, treatment and aftercare of diseases, disease-like impairments or conditions as well as the holistic use in patients in the public health system. The DMCG is patron of the annual Medicinal Cannabis Congress in Berlin.
Patient Association Self-Help Network Cannabis Medicine (SCM)
Contact: Gero Kohlhaas
Phone: 05233 953 72 46
The Self-Help Network Cannabis as Medicine (SCM) is by far the largest and oldest association of cannabis patients in Germany. It is a network of affected persons within the ACM. Together with its trained patient advisors, the local self-help groups and a patient telephone, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin and its self-help network of cannabis patients is the leading point in Germany for those seeking advice and those interested. SCM and ACM e. V. offer information, advice, organizational opportunities and support, and thus foundations for milestones that have been fought for, such as the “Cannabis as Medicine” law.
Association of Pharmacies Supplying Cannabis (VCA)
Contact: Dr. Christiane Neubaur
Phone: 0208 9912 99 21
The avowed goal of the VCA is it to ensure in Germany an efficient and affordable supply of Patient:innen with medical Cannabis. This supply obligation sees the federation completely clearly with the pharmaceutical Expert:innen in the pharmacy. According to § 1 of the German Pharmacy Act, pharmacies are responsible for ensuring the proper supply of medicines to the population in the public interest. This is the point of contact for patients before, during and after receiving a prescription from a doctor.
The pharmaceutical staff can provide optimal advice and therapeutic support.
Science Network Cannabinoids in Medicine (WCM)
Contact: Professor Dr. Sven Gottschling
Phone: 06841 16 28510
The Scientific Network Cannabinoids in Medicine (WCM) is an informal association of German-speaking scientists working on the medical potential, risks and therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids from different perspectives and with different foci.
The WCM facilitates transdisciplinary and interprofessional exchange to advance scientific knowledge on cannabinoids in medicine. The WCM is open to inquiries from medicine and other health sciences, policy makers, industry, media, and other societal stakeholders seeking science-based answers to questions across the spectrum of pharmacological and toxicological