The subject of hemp and medicinal cannabis is not just a medical issue, but indeed a highly political one. The legal situation is currently changing in many countries so as to take into account the increased need of many patients and to satisfy the demand for cannabinoids in medicine. Countries such as Israel, Portugal, Spain, England and the Netherlands have already implemented a legalisation of cannabis for medicinal use and permit commercial cultivation under government control.
Medical Cannabinoids Research & Analysis GmbH assumes the following positions in this debate:
- It is not acceptable that patients must illegally obtain their medicines on the street and therewith put themselves at risk. Anyone buying illegally has no control over the quality, composition and substances contained in the cannabis flowers. The recommendation of the Swiss working group for cannabinoids in medicine is: We must bring quality-certified cannabis from monitored production into the pharmacies. We support this recommendation.
- Patients wish to have medicines that are potentially effective and low in side effects. Applied medicinally, natural cannabis substances may be widely used and are more affordable than synthetic variants. Teas, capsules and drops, which contain natural cannabinoids, are usually well-tolerated and simple to use.
- The dispensation of cannabinoids as medicine should be subject to a medical pre-monitoring as well as government control and only be carried out in the pharmacy.
- Only dispensation under medical supervision guarantees the best possible therapeutic success. At present, doctors in Austria are only permitted to prescribe extracts from cannabis plants and synthetic cannabinoids. More cannabis medicine means a greater scope of application and increased therapeutic effect.
- In our view it is obligatory for the propagation and breeding of cannabis plants to be undertaken in a sterile, virus-free manner using the most energy-efficient approach possible.
- For medical production it is essential to grow in accordance with the provisions set by the Good Agricultural and Collection Practice (GACP). This represents guidelines on quality assurance in the extraction of materials of plant origin, which are used in the manufacture of medicines.