Cenedella.de

Patient Advocate since 1977.


Leave a comment

How cannabis patients despite the prescription are harassed by the police – by BENEDICT NIESSEN

How cannabis patients despite the prescription are harassed by the police

BENEDICT NIESSEN
Aug 25, 2017, 12:48 pm

Symbolfoto: imago Christian Mang

Anxious doctors, skimpy coffers, inexpensive grass, empty pharmacies. The medical cannabis legislation: a first gloomy conclusion.

divide

Tweet
Glockenbachviertel in Munich, a sunny spring day in May. The 31 year old Christoph sits with two girlfriends on a meadow on the Isar. “Somehow I had to take my medication,” says Christoph. Its medications are joints. He has ADHD. A few minutes later four civilian policemen are standing around the group. “One of them immediately took the joint away and they began to search me,” recalls Christoph.

DISPLAY

He tells the policeman that in his left handbag he finds his prescription for cannabis . “After they finally looked at it, a policeman imprisoned me for prescription.” The policemen then search his companions. Christoph asks for the reason for the search. “One of the policemen just said, ‘Other junkies have knives and syringes.'” Then the policemen let him run. For Christopher, however, the case is not finished. He lodged a complaint “on the grounds of unlawful and disproportionate police action, damage to my property, and insult to my person by police officers 21”. The policeHas answered him that the Bavarian LKA is now checking whether the police have acted illegally, and whether Christoph is entitled to compensation. It is the normal normal madness for German patients, who since March cannabis can get by law as medicine.

This is how a prescription for medical cannabis looks (Photo: private)
Alone at the Barmer, the AOK and the Techniker Krankenkasse asked nearly 6,000 patients around cannabis on the prescription and a reimbursement, writes the star . Christoph has been using a cannabis recipe since April. “I am hyperactive and very sensitive to the sound,” he says. “During the day, I need the THC to be able to focus, but I’m tired in the afternoon because of my basic activity.” Unlike the current ADHD drug Ritalin – which Christoph took since his 13th year of age – cannabis has no side effects. The new cannabis law would actually help him – if he came to his medicine.

“Since I have my prescription, the varieties that my doctor has prescribed for me are not available,” says Christoph. “Since June there was nothing left, so I had to wait three weeks.” Substitutes such as the oral spray Sativex had been incorrectly dosed. Christoph earned his money as a software developer. “I have to go to work and can not be on such a downer means, where I run around in the afternoon like a zombie.”

DISPLAY

“The supply bottlenecks for physically prescribed cannabis exist nationwide and can theoretically occur in each of the approximately 20,000 pharmacies,” writes the German Association of German Pharmacists (ABDA) on demand from VICE. After all, “Some retailers will probably be available again from September.” German pharmacies are still ordering cannabis in the Netherlands and Canada until next year’s production is due to start. “For four or five weeks, we are witnessing the first big supply bottleneck, but there will probably be bottlenecks again in the future because demand is constantly increasing,” explains Deputy Managing Director of the German Hanfverband (DHV), Florian Rister. There are further problems with the bottlenecks.

Also with VICE: The cook, the grass keeps alive.

Since March 10, patients should be able to get cannabis – actually. “It is still unclear for the patients whether the health insurance funds pay because the law was so spongy,” says Rister of the hemp association. Because there is no exact definition of disease images, the cash desks themselves can decide whether to pay or not. Barmer, AOK and Techniker Krankenkasse, according to their own data, granted only about half of the nearly 6,000 applications.

Another problem: since the law change, the prices of medicinal cannabis blossoms have doubled . This price explosion included, among other things, the fact that cannabis has to be labeled as a prescription drug and not as a finished drug , and pharmacies can make a 100 percent purchase price. “The prices are currently 24 euros per gram for private individuals, who have to pay themselves. For the coffers, such a price explosion is also a burden,” says Rister. The high prices also deter the doctors. “While many doctors have never been involved in cannabis, other people are afraid to break their practice budgets with these high costs and to be reconsidered .”

DISPLAY

Because many patients do not find a doctor, one of the leading German specialists for cannabis has been in hunger for a week . Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen wants to draw attention to the criminalization of cannabis patients. “The law is a great step in the right direction, but many patients still have to provide their medicine illegally,” says Grotenhermen to VICE. He calls for a change of law. “The prosecution of patients who have a doctor certified the need for a therapy with cannabis must be terminated.”

Christoph, despite the bottlenecks in pharmacies, has not yet returned to a dealer on the road. He was lucky and managed to get last doses of cannabis blossoms at pharmacies in Munich. Even if his health insurance does not pay his ten prescribed daily dues. Christoph, however, also knows of patients who had to get their medicine different because of the bottlenecks. If they are caught, they are threatened with an advertisement. At the Deutscher Hanfverband, other patients who, like Christoph, were searched or arrested by the police, despite a prescription for cannabis use. “Personal injury, house searches, insults” are the accusations against the officials in at least four cases, which the DHV Munich collected so far.

Icon image: Christoph is not the only cannabis patient who is criminalized by the police (Photo: imago | IPON)
In an open letter to the Minister of Health and the Drug Commissioner, The Left Party already drew attention at the beginning of June to pimpling coffers and the price explosions for cannabis blossoms. The federal government stated in a reply that it had requested a report to the top association of statutory health insurance (GKV). However, because the Federal Government did not set any time limits, the problems could be protracted. “The government needs to cut prices by law in the interests of patients,” the Frank-Tempel drug spokesman said on the website of his party , “We need short-term solutions and can not wait any longer.”

Just a week ago, the Federal Government’s Drug Commissioner, Marlene Mortler (CSU), published the sobering drug and addiction report 2017 . In it, the passionate grass-adversary warned against a trivialization of cannabis and demanded an active anti-cannabis policy in the federation. Specialist Franjo Grotenhermen says he would like to talk with Mortler about the dangers. “I would like to invite her, but she would never accept anything like this.” Mrs. Mortler would look embarrassed if she would talk to me because she can not do anything but “Drugs are dangerous.” He does not believe in a quick solution. “At the moment I am simply desperate and try to draw attention to the failures with this hunger strike.”

DISPLAY

Christoph also hopes for change. Since the incident with the police, he is careful, he says. “I was pretty done now, I’m always watching where I can take my medication every day.” After all, ten doses a day – ten joints – were prescribed for him. “Should I hide, so that I may be well? That is not the point.” Yet he believes in the law. “I would be glad if it finally helped us,” he says. “I just hope I get the right drugs soon, pay my health insurance and I do not have to be afraid of the police.”
https://www.vice.com/de/article/j55bgb/wie-cannabis-patienten-trotz-rezept-von-der-polizei-schikaniert-werden?utm_medium=link&utm_source=vicefbde
Follow VICE on Facebook , Instagram and Snapchat .

Advertisements


Leave a comment

The chairman of the German Association for Cannabis as Medicine Dr. Franjo Grotenherman, has entered an “indefinite” hunger strike until Germany “decriminalize all citizens who need cannabis to treat their serious diseases.”

On August 17, 2017, I entered an indefinite hunger strike. The objective of refusing to accept any food is to decriminalize all citizens who need cannabis to treat their serious diseases.

On March 10, 2017, a much-debated law on cannabis as a medicine went into effect in Germany. It was the declared aim of the legislature to allow all patients who need a therapy with cannabis medicines to do so. The law, however, proves itself in practice as bureaucratic. Therefore, a treatment with cannabis and cannabinoids is unattractive for doctors who in principle support such therapy. Many patients do not find a doctor who allows them legal access to the needed treatment.

The legislator has taken a great step into the right direction. However, many patients are still dependent on a still as illegal regarded treatment. They face criminal sanctions. This is no longer acceptable. Therefore a basic clarification in the narcotics law must be established. The prosecution of patients to whom a doctor has certified the need for a therapy with cannabis must end.

Already today, the German Narcotics Law allows prosecutors to stop a criminal case in the case of a „minor debt“. This possibility is mainly applied in cases of possession of small amounts of cannabis. I urge that criminal proceedings should in principle also be stopped if accused citizens need cannabis for medical reasons. The need for a cannabis therapy should not be judged by the judiciary, a government agency or a health insurance company, but, as with other medical treatments, also by a doctor.

I also strongly support the uncomplicated access of patients to standardized preparations from the pharmacy. In this respect, it is necessary to improve the existing law. However, the prosecution of the remaining losers of the legal situation must also be ended. I am not aware of a convincing argument by which patients‘ prosecution can be maintained. A corresponding amendment to the Narcotics Act is, therefore, logical and unavoidable.

Franjo Grotenhermen, born in 1957, studied medicine in Cologne. Medical practice in Rüthen (NRW) with a focus on therapy with cannabis and cannabinoids. Grotenhermen is the chairman of the German Association for Cannabis as Medicine (ACM), Executive Director of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) and Chairman of the Medical Cannabis Declaration (MCD), as well as author of the IACM-Bulletin, which is available in several languages ​​on the website of the IACM. Grotenhermen is an associate of the Cologne nova-Institut in the department of renewable resources and author of numerous articles and books on the therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids, their pharmaco logy and toxicology. Among others, since 2008 he has been an expert on debates in the Health Committee of the German Bundestag on the medical use of cannabis products, most recently in September 2016.

franjo


Leave a comment

Canada’s medical marijuana market has experienced explosive growth, particularly for extracts. The amount of cannabis oil sold to clients registered with Health Canada rose 870% between the first quarter of 2016, when 584 kilograms were sold, and one year later, when 5,673 kilograms were sold.

Canada-recreational-marijuana-web-e1501023238758

 

http://www.cenedella.de


Leave a comment

ALGAE DYNAMICS CORP ENTERS INTO A LETTER OF INTENT WITH BONIFY TO PRODUCE UNIQUE CANNABIS OIL PRODUCTS; ACCELERATES GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY

RADINZ_LAYOUT

 

 

ALGAE DYNAMICS CORP ENTERS INTO A LETTER OF INTENT
WITH BONIFY TO PRODUCE UNIQUE CANNABIS OIL PRODUCTS;
ACCELERATES GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY

TORONTO--August 16, 2017--ALGAE DYNAMICS CORP (OTCQB: ADYNF) (the "Company"), a
company focused on the development of unique health products and pharmaceuticals utilizing cannabis
and algae oils, today announced that it has further refined its relationship with 6779264 Manitoba Ltd dba
Bonify (“Bonify”) in a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) dated August 10, 2017. Bonify is a Licensed Producer,
pursuant to the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations in Canada, with the capability to
grow multiple strains of cannabis in its state-of-the-art 320,000 square foot facility.
The Company previously announced a Memorandum of Understanding with Bonify on May 9, 2017, in
which Bonify agreed to supply raw cannabis plant material for processing into cannabis oil for sale and
for use in research. In the recently completed LOI, the Company and Bonify have outlined the following:
1) The purchase and installation of cannabis oil extraction equipment by the Company in Bonify’s
facility;
2) The processing of cannabis material supplied by Bonify and other Licensed Producers in the oil
extraction facility;
3) The supply of cannabis oil and algae omega-3 oils to The University of Waterloo and University of
Western Ontario to support the Sponsored Research Agreements that the Company has in place with
the two universities; and
4) The sharing of direct expenses, and, after adjustment for the market value of cannabis material
supplied by Bonify and third parties, sharing of revenues from the sale of cannabis oil and algaecannabis
oil products.
The term of the agreement is for three years from the commencement of operations and is renewable by
mutual agreement. The Company and Bonify agree to use best efforts to complete formal documentation of
the agreement by September 30, 2017. Upon termination of the agreement, the Company agrees to transfer
title of the equipment to Bonify. The Company has engaged investment bankers to assist with the raising of
necessary capital to purchase and install the extraction equipment.
Given the favorable terms of this agreement, the Company does not anticipate moving forward with its
previously announced joint venture with ARA – Avanti Rx Analytics Inc. in which it was contemplated that
oil extraction would be done utilizing the latter’s facility.
Assuming that all regulatory approvals are in place, initial revenues are expected within six to nine months
following completion of financing,
Paul Ramsay, Chairman and President of Algae Dynamics Corp, stated, “We believe this Letter of Intent
gives us an improved pathway to early revenues as well as a reliable high-quality source of cannabis oil for
the universities to support our important algae-cannabis oil research. We look forward to expeditiously
completing this agreement.”
Jeff Peitsch, President and CEO of Bonify, commented, “Our team is pleased to be working with Algae
Dynamics Corp in support of the Company’s ongoing research and product development work with
universities. We see many benefits to working together with innovative companies such as Algae Dynamics
in this burgeoning cannabis market.”
About Bonify
Bonify is a Canadian-owned Licensed Producer and leading provider of medical cannabis. By maximizing
research findings and strictly adhering to best-in-class practices, quality standards and procedures, Bonify
produces medical cannabis products to help individuals get the most out of life each and every day. With
over 1,000,000 square feet of potential productive capacity at its present site in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada,
when at full scale, Bonify will be capable of growing over 100,000 kgs of cannabis annually.
About Algae Dynamics Corp
ADC is engaged in the development of unique health products and pharmaceuticals that utilize hemp,
cannabis and algae oils. We have engaged two Canadian universities to provide research into the use of
extracts from cannabis oil, which we plan to use to develop products that combine the significant health
benefits of Omega-3s derived from algae oil and extracts from cannabis oil. Our research is focused on the
use of cannabis oil in the context of cancer, and the use of cannabis derivatives for the development of novel
pharmacotherapies for mental health.
For more information, visit http://www.algaedynamics.com
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in Section 27A of the
Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press
release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding
beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include,
among other things, use of proceeds and the development, costs and results of current or future actions and
opportunitiesin the sector. Actual results could differfrom those projected in any forward-looking statements
due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new
projects and development stage companies, our ability to raise the additional funding we will need to
continue to pursue our exploration and development program, and our ability to retain important members
of our management team and attract other qualified personnel. These forward-looking statements are made
as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or
to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements.
Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are
reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove
to be accurate.
Investors should consult all the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure
outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form
10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
INVESTOR RELATIONS CONTACT:
Jack Eversull, President
The Eversull Group, Inc.
jack@theeversullgroup.com
972-571-1624
COMPANY
CONTACT:
Paul Ramsay, President
Algae Dynamics Corp
ramsay@algaedynamics.com
416-704-3040

RADINZ_LAYOUT




 


2 Comments

“It’s California in 1995 All Over Again, Man” – Opportunities and Problems Piling Up in the European Cannabis Market – from Cannabis Business Executive magazine / Philip J. Cenedella IV

“It’s California in 1995 all over again, man.”

That was a comment I overhead during a conversation between an American and a German entrepreneur at the Mary Jane Berlin event held in Berlin in the second week of June, 2017.

Indeed, there may not be a better way to sum up the current state of the state here in Europe’s most populous country. Having been on the frontlines of the grassroots efforts in San Diego last century, it is fun to see how our industry is now growing in Germany and throughout Europe.  And like California back then, or now, the struggle is not always easy.

Here’s another interesting quote of the month:

“European markets are increasingly important to the cannabis sector. Each has a well-funded medical system, residents who seek natural and complementary therapies, and a government-supported mandate to stop the rising tide of opiate addiction related to chronic pain treatment.”

-Benjamin Ward, CEO, Maricann Group, Inc.

As of August, 2017 starts, the medical marijuana patients in Germany are experiencing “sold out” conditions nationwide, and the two exclusive importing countries (Canada and the Netherlands) are anticipating further bottlenecks as their in-country supply needs change. This is a significant problem – but also an opportunity for GMP-certified growers to fill the gap. If, and how, the German government opens up alternative supply to support their medical patients will be the top story in Germany this year.

From the patients perspective, there are two bad things about the current state of affairs: Little to no choice in their required medicine and their insurance companies are now refusing to cover the costs for the medicine as stipulated in the federal law.

Of course, lawyers are now getting involved and insurance companies are starting to be forced into approving valid claims from their policy-paying customers. But it is a silly, slow process to say the least.

The solution the German government is pursuing is to award 10 grow licenses to companies that will then produce 200 lbs. cannabis ​each within the country. The first bud from those plants are not scheduled to be picked until sometime in 2019, which is simply too long for patients to wait.

Some of the companies that have been publicly mentioned as potential winners of a grow license are Spektrum Cannabis, which is the Canopy Growth company formerly known as MedCann; Maricann GmbH, which is the new German subsidiary of its Canadian parent, Bedrocan, that has been a leader in the industry but recently run into a dispute with their Canadian licensee, Bedrocan International; Aurora Cannabis from Canada, which recently acquired the German firm Pedianos adding an EU-wide, medical marijuana distribution capability; and ABCann of Canada, which touts the “Father of THC” Dr. Raphael Mechoulam as a key member of their board of directors.

Homegrow options in Germany are currently not permitted, and existing indoor/outdoor farm operations are not yet able to be registered, licensed and taxed.

The black market continues to win, and patients continue to lose.  Cannabis business executives worldwide need to effectively work with the German government to develop the solutions we all know exist.  Three organizations that are key to this effort are the BfArM (www.bfarm.de )  the DHV (www.hanfverband.de )  and the GTAI ( www.gtai.de )

My personal comment is the government, politicians and regulators here in Germany need to listen to their constituents who support our industry by over 60 percent nationwide, according to a recent poll. The total quantity of flower to be delivered by the 10 licensees is probably less than what my buddy Butch has in his building back in California to handle his patients which live within five miles of the office.

Yes I am joking, Butch usually has less, but the point is – ​it simply is not enough for a population twice the size of California.

With all the talk about Germany, it is also important to remember that it is one of 18 countries within Europe that currently allow for some form of medical marijuana.  Besides Germany, there are provisions for the distribution and use of medical products in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and, the most recent addition, Poland.

This is an interesting list that, again, shows these are historic times here in Europe.

Sadly missing from the list above is the United Kingdom, and that has affected people we know. Our friend Vera Twomey, and her entire family had to leave the U.K. last month just to take care of their young daughter with Dravet’s Syndrome. In the U.K. their daughter suffered from up to 30 grand mal seizures a day while taking a regimen of pharmaceutical drugs.

Think about that for a moment – 30 grand mal ​seizures a day.

Now living as “medical refugees” from their homeland, the Twomey’s and their daughter are now dealing with zero grand mal seizures a day thanks to her medical marijuana.

30 grand mal seizures a day, now zero a day – everyday for the past 3-4 weeks.

The United Kingdom calls medical marijuana illegal. Patients and advocates call that thinking arcane, unjust, and possibly criminal itself. They are now petitioning the Human Rights Commission of the European Union in Brussels for help. I am positive their efforts will be successful – it is just a matter of time.

Vera and her family hope it comes within her daughter’s lifetime. That is all for now. Have a successful rest of the summer, rest up and get ready because I believe that Q-4 of 2017 is going to be a busy one for our industry and your company.

About The Author:


Leave a comment

Is There a Medical Cannabis Crisis Brewing in Germany? By Marguerite Arnold

A looming product shortage, regulatory bureaucracy and insurance issues create a maelstrom of woes for German medical cannabis patients.

There is a great deal to be happy about with medical cannabis legalization in Germany. This is the first country that has mandated insurance coverage of the drug – at least at the federal legislative level.

However, as the government evaluates the finalists in the first tender bidfor domestically grown and regulated cannabis, a real crisis is brewing for patients on the ground. And further one that the industry not only sees but is trying to respond to.

Spektrum Cannabis GmbH, formerly MedCann GmbH began trying to address this problem when they obtained the first import license for Canadian cannabis last year. They are also one of the apparent five finalists in the pending government bid to grow the plant domestically for medical purposes. According to Dr. Sebastian Schulz, head of communications for Spektrum, “Shortly after the new cannabis law was reformed we experienced a huge increase in demand from the side of patients. We had prepared for that. The German population is very curious about cannabis as a medicine and in general very open to natural remedies.”

People are curious here. But like other places, the law in Germany has evolved slowly. Much like Israel, the government has allowed a trickle of patients to have access to cannabis by jumping through multiple, time consuming hoops. The process of getting cannabis prescribed, much less getting a pharmacy to stock it, was difficult. Patients had to pay out of pocket – a monthly cost of about $1,700. While that is expensive by American standards, to Germans, this is unheard of. The vast majority of the population – 90% – is on public health insurance. That means that most Germans get medications for $12 a month, no matter what they are. Allegedly, German patients were supposed to get about 5oz a month for this price. At least that is what the law says.

People are curious here. But like other places, the law in Germany has evolved slowlyAs in other countries, no matter what Germans think about recreational reform, the clear majority of them at this point support medical use. And at this point, both legislatively and via the courts, the government has said and been required to provide the drug to Germans patients at low cost.

Unintended Effects & Consequences

Since the law went into effect in March of this year however, things have suddenly turned very dire for patients.

The handful of people who had the right to grow at home – established under lawsuits several years ago – were suddenly told they could no longer do so. They had to go to a doctor and regular pharmacy. Even regular patients in the system found that their insurance companies, allegedly now required to pay, are refusing to reimburse claims. Doctors who prescribed the drug were abruptly informed that they would be financially responsible for every patient’s drug cost for the next two years (about $50,000 per patient).

Photo: Ian McWilliams, Flickr

To add a final blow to an already dire situation, German pharmacies that carried the drug, then announced an additional fee. It is about $9 extra per gram, added at the pharmacy, pushing the price of legitimate cannabis north of $20 dollars per gram. This is justified as a “preparation fee.” Cannabis bud is technically marked as an “unprocessed drug.” This means the pharmacies can charge extra for “processing” the same. In reality this might be a little bud trimming. If that. The current distributors in the market already prep and pre-package the drug.

What this bodes for a future dominated by infused products, oils and concentrates is unclear. However the impact now is large, immediate and expensive in a country where patients also must still go to the pharmacy in person for all prescription drugs.

There is no mail order here, by federal law. Online pharmacies are a luxury for Auslanders.

At minimum, this could mean that without some relief, German patients will go right back into the black market and home grow.While nobody has challenged this situation yet en masse, it is already a sore point not only for patients but across the industry. It means that an already expensive drug has gotten even more expensive. It also means that the government regulations are not working as planned.

At least not yet. For the large Canadian companies now coming into the market with multimillion-dollar investments already sunk in hard costs, Germany will be a loss-leader until the system sorts itself out.

According to Schulz, whose company is now in the thick of it, the new law is very vague. “Currently, there are almost no cannabis flowers available in German pharmacies because companies like us are not allowed to sell them,” says Schulz. “Various different regulatory demands come up that seemed to change on a monthly basis. We are ready to deliver even large amounts of cannabis for a market that might well explode soon – but we first need to overcome the regulatory nightmare that leads to the suffering of so many patients here these days.”

At minimum, this could mean that without some relief, German patients will go right back into the black market and home grow. Black market costs for cannabis are about $10-15 a gram. In other words, exactly the situation the government was hoping to avoid.

What Is Causing The Situation?

The intended effect of the legislation was twofold, according to industry insiders: To legalize cannabis in such a way to meet a rising public demand and, in the face of a court decision, to limit the home grow movement. The latter of which, despite federal regulations, is thriving here. Germans like to grow things, and cannabis is a rewarding plant to nurture.

High attendance at the Mary Jane Grow Expo in Berlin in June is just one sign that the genie is out of this particular bottle. BfArM – the federal agency in charge of regulating narcotics and medical devices – cannot stuff it back.Patients are going back to the way things were

However home grow does not build a professional, high volume cannabis market, much less a highly regulated medical one make. The government also made clear that it is going to have strict inspections and quality controls, and will technically buy all the cannabis produced, per the terms of the bid application process.

However, it is not entirely clear when the government will start actually doing the buying. And why the buying has not started yet. If insurance companies are refusing to pay, this means the government is not reimbursing them. The same government, which has also agreed to do so, as of March 2017.

What Gives On Good Old German Efficiency?

On the streets, patients are going back to the way things were. Many are used to fighting for the only drug that makes them feel better. The euphoria in May, for example, has been replaced with weary acceptance that things might get a bit worse before they really improve.

That said, there is also a realization that more activism and lobbying are required on just about every front. If an extrapolation of data from say Colorado or California is applied to Germany, there are already at least a million eligible patients here, based on the qualifying conditions. The government is planning for an annual increase in medical patients of about 5-10,000 a year, including in the amount of cannabis they are planning on buying from the licensed producers they choose. The numbers, however, are already not matching.Even existing patients are literally being forced into the black market again.

Added to this wrinkle is the other reality that is also looming, particularly now.

With one exception, all of the firms now apparently in contention as finalists for the German government bid will also be supplying a domestic market in Canada that is going rec next summer. One year, in other words, before the German companies even begin producing.

What Is The Upshot For Patients?

Guenther Weiglein is one of the five patients who sued for home grow rights in 2014. He is now suing again for the right to extend home grow privileges until the government figures out its process. He is not the only one. Earlier this year he was told he had to stop his home grow and integrate into the “mainstream” system. So far, he, along with other patients who are suing, including for insurance coverage, have not been able to get cannabis easily through the system, although they are starting to make progress.

Weiglein’s situation is made even more frustrating by the fluidity of the situation. As of late July, he had finally gotten agreement from his insurance company to cover the drug. But now he cannot find a doctor willing to accept the financial risk of prescribing it to him. And in the meantime he has no access to medication.

Talk to any group of advocates right now, and there is one ongoing story. Even existing patients are literally being forced into the black market again.

And those that can’t afford it? They are out of luck. Some patients say a tragedy like someone dying will create the impetus to move this into public eye. A hunger strike here by a leading cannabis doctor earlier this summer has so far not had much impact on policy. There is a great deal of pessimism here, as promised change earlier this year has turned into a long and drawn out multiyear question mark.

If this sounds like a bubbling and untenable situation, especially before a national election, it is. The prospect of another four years of Angela Merkel does not bode well for fast cannabis reform.

That said, the German government is now in an interesting situation. The law has now clearly changed to say that sick Germans are allowed to use cannabis as a drug of choice for chronic diseases when all else fails. Further, the national government has bound the insurance industry to cover it. So far, every patient who has sued for coverage has won. That has not, however, moved the insurance industry altogether. Nor has it solved the problem with doctors prescribing the drug.

Many now ask what will? It is clear, however, that it will change. The question is when, how fast, and in what situations.

The problem will undoubtedly ease by 2019, when the first German crops are finally ready, although it will be far from completely solved.

https://www.cannabisindustryjournal.com/news_article/is-there-a-medical-cannabis-crisis-brewing-in-germany/#comment-300


Leave a comment

ICRS findings highlight CBD’s therapeutic potential for cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, and other disorders.

Newhttp://www.alternet.org/drugs/cutting-edge-cannabis-science-latest-findings-cbd?mc_cid=59a8c36441&mc_eid=cd290ff91e

During the last week of June, more than 400 scientists from 25 countries met in Montreal for the 27th annual symposium of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS). Several presentations and posters showcased new findings about cannabidiol (CBD), the non-euphoric component of the cannabis plant that is transforming the medical marijuana landscape.

In her Young Investigator Award Presentation, Saoirse O’Sullivan, associate professor at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, discussed the cardiovascular effects of cannabidiol: “CBD causes both acute and time dependent vasorelaxation of rat and human arteries … and can improve endothelial function and vasodilator responses in a rat model of type 2 diabetes.” Moreover, a single dose of CBD was found to decrease “resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress.” Other studies indicate that CBD limits brain damage in animal models of stroke. “Collectively, these data suggest that CBD is a compound of interest in the cardiovascular system and in cardiovascular disorders, which need to be tested in relevant patient groups,” O’Sullivan concluded.

A poster by Dr. Paula B. Dall’Stella, a neuro-oncologist with Sirio Libanes Hospital in San Paulo, Brazil, documented the antitumoral effects of CBD in two patients with Glioblastoma Multiforme (brain cancer) that were resistant to other therapies. Before and after MRI scans showed “a marked remission … not commonly observed in patients only treated with conventional modalities … that could impact survival.”

Several presentations focused on CBD and treatment-resistant epilepsy. Dr. Fabricio A. Pamplona, scientific director of of Entourage Phytolab in San Paulo, Brazil, compared the efficacy of a purified CBDisolate to a whole plant CBD-rich oil extract. Pamplona found the whole plant extract to be a superior option with higher potency and fewer adverse side effects than single-molecule CBD: “There were more reports of ‘improvement in seizures frequency’ in CBD-enriched extract compared to purified CBD,” a result that he attributed to the “additional compounds available in extracts (other than CBD) that may interact synergistically.”

Israeli researchers at the Technion institute in Haifa found that “not all high CBD extracts have the same anticonvulsant ability.” The Israelis noted that “the terpenoid content in the cannabis extracts are important for the anticonvulsant effect.” (Terpenoids are derived from terpenes, the aromatic botanical compounds that endow cannabis with a unique smell and confer specific medicinal effects.) “Not all cannabis extracts will be useful as a treatment for epilepsy,” the Technion researchers concluded, adding: “[T]he exact cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles are needed to evaluate the potential anticonvulsant properties of a cannabis extract.”

Another poster drew attention to the fact that daily use of CBD-rich cannabis oil extracts may lead to a positive THC finding in a drug test, a concern for many U.S. patients in so-called “CBD-only states” that have legalized CBD but not the whole plant. Unfortunately, this poster resurrected the thoroughly discredited (and financially motivated) theory that CBD may convert to THC in the stomach. A more likely explanation is that any whole cannabis plant extract that includes even a small amount of THC could generate a positive result from a drug test. Given the unregulated CBD products that proliferate online, it’s not surprising that some “CBD” oils contain higher THC concentrations than advertised.

Other scientists probed CBD’s mechanism of action with respect to nausea, neuropathic pain, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Researchers at McGill University in Montreal found that analgesic effects of acute and chronic CBD treatment are mediated by the serotonin 5HT1a receptor, but this is not the case for CBD’s antidepressant effects, which seem to be regulated via other molecular pathways.

The complex role of the 5HT1a receptor with respect to CBD’s therapeutic properties was addressed in a poster by Aidan J. Hampson and his colleagues at the National Institute of Drug Abuse. It was Hampson’s work, published in 1998, that formed that basis for the U.S. government’s patent on the antioxidant and neuroprotectant properties of cannabinoids (both THC and CBD). More recently, Hampson has shown that the anxiety-relieving effect of CBD can be blocked in vivo (in a living animal) by a 5HT1a antagonist, indicating that this receptor is in part responsible for mediating the anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol. Curiously, Hampson’s current data suggests that in addition to binding directly to 5HT1a, cannabidiol may also act as a positive allosteric modulator of 5HT1a – meaning that CBD can alter the functionality of this receptor (and other serotonin receptor subtypes) in such a way as to enhance its binding efficiency with the endogenous serotonin neurotransmitter. In other words, CBD may actually magnify the effect of serotonin, in addition to directly activating the 5HT1a receptor.

Scientists at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Kentucky have identified two new molecular targets of CBD – the receptors designated “GPR3” and “GPR6.” (GPR refers to G-coupled protein receptor, the family of receptors that includes cannabinoid, opioid, and several serotonin receptor subtypes.) GPR3 and GPR6 are both known as “orphan receptors” because the principal endogenous compounds that bind to these receptors have yet to be identified. Some of the potential therapeutic effects of CBD for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia may be mediated by GPR3and GPR6.

Amyloid beta plaque and tau protein tangles in the brain are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s dementia. Tim Karl from the Western Sydney University School of Medicine in Australia elaborated on CBD’s therapeutic potential for this neurodegenerative brain disease: “The phytocannabinoid cannabidiol possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties and prevents amyloid beta-induced neuroinflammation, and tau hyperphosphorylation in vitro. CBD also reverses cognitive deficits of pharmacological amyloid beta models. Thus, CBD may offer therapeutic value for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Another receptor, known as GPR55, is inhibited by CBD. This is significant because preclinical research has linked GPR55 activation to several aberrant conditions, including colon cancer and Dravet Syndrome, a severe seizure disorder. By functioning as a GPR55 “antagonist,” CBD may confer a tumor-suppressing and anti-epileptic effect, although clinical studies have yet to confirm whether this mechanism of action is applicable to humans as well as animals.

At the 2017 ICRS conference, numerous presentations focused on other areas of cannabinoid science that do not involve CBD but are nonetheless relevant for cannabis clinicians and patients. Some highlights:

  • Chronic cannabis use: Carrie Cutler, assistant professor at Washington State University, provided a much-needed rejoinder to scientifically dubious assertions that chronic cannabis use during adolescence causes brain damage and significant detrimental effects on cognition and IQ. Her study found that after controlling for confounding variables no “significant effects of cannabis use were detected on … measures of memory or executive functioning” other than “modest problems with verbal free recall (i.e., remembering lists of items) and prospective memory (i.e, remembering to do things in the future).” A second study presented by Cutler drew attention to marijuana’s stress-reducing effects: “[C]hronic cannabis use is associated with a blunted stress response and a reduced reliance on top-down attentional control that does not cause overall cognitive performance to suffer.”
  • Addiction: Vincenzo Di Marzo, a leading cannabinoid scientist at the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry in Naples, Italy, gave a fascinating presentation on the cessation of nicotine addiction among cigarette smokers who suffer a traumatic brain injury. Di Marzo identified an endogenous lipid molecule, N-oleoyol-glycine (OlGly), which activates a receptor on the membrane of the cell’s nucleus, thereby reducing the rewarding effects of nicotine and nicotine-dependence in mice. In a separate study of morphine withdrawal, Di Marzo and a team of international researchers concluded: “Oleoyl Glycine is a newly discovered endogenous cannabinoid-like compound that may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of addiction.”
  • Pain relief: Temple University scientists found that “cannabinoids used in combination with opioids have the potential to reduce the dose of opioids needed for analgesia.” Jenny L. Wiley, a scientist with RTI International in North Carolina, and her colleagues at Washington State University reported encouraging results regarding the use of THC as a prophylactic treatment for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. “Preliminary data suggest that THC administered chronically during the course of paclitaxel treatment decreases the development of mechanical allodynia [heightened sensitivity to pain] in both male and female rats.”
  • Sleep: Gwen Wurm at the University of Miami reported that medical cannabis use is associated with a decrease in the use of prescription and over-the-counter sleep medications. Moreover, according Wurm’s poster, “There is a strong relationship between use of medical cannabis for sleep and for pain.”
  • The CB2 receptor: Tel Aviv University scientist Bitya Raphael identified an endogenous hormone H4(99-103) that activates the cannabinoid CB2 receptor, which regulates immune function, metabolic processes and the peripheral nervous system. This is the first study showing that an endogenous circulating peptide signals via the CB2 receptor. A poster presented by Makenzie Fulmer at East Tennessee State University described how CB2 receptor dysfunction increases plaque calcification in a mouse model of atherosclerosis.

There were many other significant presentations during the four-day ICRS conference in Montreal that warrant mention – too many to adequately address in this summary. Project CBD looks forward to further developments next year when the ICRS convenes again at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

Martin A Lee is the director of Project CBD and the author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana—Medical, Recreational and Scientific.

rxleaf