Germany Plans to Legalize Medical Marijuana


August 19, 2010 – The German health ministry has announced plans to legalize medical use of marijuana, prompting praise from advocates for patients with chronic pain and terminal illnesses.

Top policy makers in the German government have agreed on plans to allow prescriptions for medical marijuana for seriously ill patients, according to an announcement by the German health ministry.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin on Tuesday, Health Minister Philipp Roesler said the plan could be carried out by a simple change in the ministry’s policy, and that no change in German law was necessary.

He added that because many other European countries already allow medical cannibis, the process in Germany could go “quickly in comparison.”

Many health professionals consider marijuana useful for the relief of nausea and the stimulation of appetite in chemotherapy or AIDS patients, and for general pain relief. But medical marijuana has been effectively illegal in Germany, with only 40 patients in the entire country having obtained cannabis prescriptions.

Praise from medical community

Health professionals and advocates for the seriously ill welcomed the change, with Eugen Brysch of the German Hospice Foundation saying cannabis can play “an important role” in the treatment of the critically ill.

Many other European countries already allow medicinal marijuana

“Because it is disproportionately difficult to obtain cannabis as medicine, many patients with chronic pain are currently forced into illegality,” he said.

Gerhard Mueller-Schwefe, president of the German Society for Pain Therapy, said that the policy change would open up new drug therapy options for patients with chronic pain diseases like multiple sclerosis, and that “it’s time to bring cannabis out from the shadows.”

The change in policy is also to allow hospices and specialized ambulances to use certain high-strength anesthetics like morphine, and to store surplus supplies for emergencies.

This “will legalize a practice that pain therapists and palliative health professionals have long administered out of necessity,” Mueller-Schwefe said. By Andrew Bowen. Source.

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One response to “Germany Plans to Legalize Medical Marijuana”

  1. THE FACTS about the misleading information medical cannabis in germany , a statement by Dr.Franjo Grotenhermen:

    “There are media reports that the German government is intending to ease the access to cannabis for medicinal purposes. Most of the reports are misleading. The German government has agreed on allowing for pharmaceutical companies to apply for approvals on cannabis-based medicines in Germany. This is necessary to allow the British company GWPharmaceuticals to apply for an approval of their cannabis extract Sativex in Germany. Sativex is already available in the UK and Spain for the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis sufferers,and the company announced in July that applications for this indication have also been made in Italy, France, Germany and other European countries. Approvals are expected in 2011.

    No other changes with regard to the medical use of cannabis are intended by the German government. The German Association for Cannabis as Medicine is calling the media reports initiated by the German Government as “misleading”, since they suggest that cannabis will be available in Germany soon for many patients,while it is only for spasticity in MS after the approval of Sativex for this indication.

    Currently two possibilities exist for a treatment with cannabis based medicines in Germany:(1) Prescription of dronabinol or nabilone by physicians. Unfortunately, the health insurances are usually not obligated to pay for such a treatment.(2) Special permission by the government to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. Currently, only about 40 patients are permitted to do so and can buy cannabis in pharmacies imported from the Netherlands.”

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