According to the German Federal Ministry of Health, medical marijuana use among patients with chronic illnesses has nearly doubled in a year’s time.
Medical cannabis sales at German pharmacies are soaring, with the amount of legally purchased medicinal cannabis nearly doubling over the past year. According to a statement from the Federal Ministry of Health, the country saw 33.8kg of medical marijuana sold to patients with chronic conditions in the first six months of 2015. The amount sold in the first six months of 2016 ballooned up to 61.8kg.
Cannabis is illegal throughout Germany, but the country did begin allowing medical cannabis for individual patients with chronic illnesses and conditions following a ruling by the Federal Administrative Court in 2005. However, the country assesses each patient’s situation on a case-by-case basis and according to German news site The Local, “the bar [to be approved for medical cannabis] is set fairly high.” Marijuana-based products from pharmacies are not covered by insurance and are expensive for patients.
While the health ministry didn’t specify the reasoning for the significant increase, it has granted many more patients licenses for legal medical cannabis use. Last spring, 424 patients had been issued cannabis licenses for doctor-supervised use, compared to a total of 647 patients that have been granted permission as of this spring.
Germany’s health minister Herman Gröhe has said that the country will legalize medical marijuana for all medicinal purposes sometime in 2017 and that the plan he hopes to implement will allow insurance companies to cover costs. In May of this year, the German cabinet did approve a measure that formally allows seriously ill patients who through the recommendation of a doctor “have no therapeutic alternative” legal access to cannabis. Under the proposed law, patients would only need a doctor’s certification that other treatments have been ineffective to be approved for cannabis and have the medicine covered by insurance.
“Our goal is that seriously ill people are looked after to the best of our ability,” he said in May.
Before the proposed law is implemented, the Bundestag (German parliament) must also approve it.
The growing use of medical marijuana in Germany is reflective of the worldwide shift toward cannabis acceptance. While marijuana for medical or recreational use is currently illegal in most international countries, the International Business Times reports that Canada, Columbia and Czech Republic allow for medicinal use of the plant and Uruguay allows residents aged 18 and older to legally purchase marijuana for medical and recreational use.
Mexico, Brazil and Paraguay, as well as the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, have approved Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s Real Scientific Hemp Oil™ (RSHO™), a revolutionary full spectrum cannabidiol (CBD) oil extracted from hemp, for patients as a medical prescription. RSHOTM is legally available without a prescription in all 50 U.S. states and in over 40 countries worldwide.
In the United States, 25 states have so far adopted medical marijuana legislation, and four states have medicinal cannabis initiatives on their ballots this coming November. Four states have legalized recreational use, with voters in five additional states deciding on adult use measures in the election.
Learn more about Germany’s cannabis laws by visiting our education page.