Changed Narcotics Law: Cannabis for seriously ill on prescription

Changed Narcotics Law: Cannabis for seriously ill on prescription

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Seriously ill people can get cannabis by prescription
Doctors will be able to prescribe seriously ill cannabis medication in the future if this promotes healing or relieves pain. Statutory health insurance reimburses the costs. The amended narcotics law comes into force in March.

Cannabis medicines on prescription
Seriously ill patients can in future receive cannabis medicines on prescription. The costs are reimbursed by the statutory health insurance. The Federal Council has approved amendments to the Narcotics Act, reports the Federal Government in a statement. Accordingly, other therapeutic options must be exhausted. Or the treating doctor decides in individual cases that therapeutic alternatives are not appropriate. In addition, cannabis medicines may only be prescribed if the ingestion is likely to improve the symptoms or the course of the disease.

Reimbursement by health insurance
Even before the law was passed, cannabis was used in Germany for medical purposes. According to a newspaper report, over a thousand seriously ill people were able to buy marijuana for therapy at the end of last year.

The new law, which provides for full coverage of health insurance, has long been controversial. For example, doctors in Germany had spoken out against free marijuana on sick leave.

But now it's finally passed. “Seriously ill people have to be cared for in the best possible way. This includes that the costs of cannabis as medicine for the seriously ill are covered by their health insurance if they cannot be helped effectively, ”said Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe.

Home cultivation remains prohibited
According to the government's announcement, medical hemp can be prescribed for pain patients, multiple sclerosis or certain psychiatric disorders, for example.

But: "The law does not change the Federal Government's stance on the release of cannabis: self-cultivation - even for medical purposes - and its use for intoxication purposes are prohibited," the message says.

The Bundestag passed the necessary amendments to the Narcotics Act on January 19, after the Federal Government initiated them in May 2016. The changes were confirmed by the Federal Council on February 10.

Insured persons must participate in accompanying research
A state cannabis agency, which is located at the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), will take care of the import of medical cannabis drugs.

The institute already has experience with medicinal hemp. Because anyone who previously wanted to have cannabis medicines as a seriously ill person could apply for an exemption from the general ban on cultivating cannabis at the BfArM.

With the new law, this exemption will no longer be necessary. If you have statutory health insurance, you are entitled to reimbursement of costs from your health insurance company. "However, the insured must declare their willingness to participate in an accompanying research," says the message.

According to the information, this accompanying research consists of data collection, whereby the transmitted data is "processed anonymously and only for the purpose of scientific research".

The Federal Joint Committee intends to use the knowledge gained from this to decide in which cases cannabis will be prescribed in the future at the expense of statutory health insurance. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Understanding the Illinois Medical Cannabis Program Act - RSDSA (August 2022).