Medical cannabis since legalization Medicine

Cannabis has been known to humanity for many generations as a medicine, archaeological findings suggest that it was already in China around 4000 BC. Chr. Was used as a medicinal plant. Even in Germany, the hemp plant is no longer unknown, in the 12th century Hildegard von Bingen recommended against nausea and stomach pain. Today, cannabis is known to many as an illegal intoxicant, but at least in medicine is now again intensified and approved by the legislature, concerned with the natural healing power of the plant.

Since March 10, 2017 cannabis is approved as a medicine in Germany. Although medical hemp was allowed to be prescribed since 2011, but only in very few exceptional cases under strict regulations. Before admission, there were not even 1000 pain patients who received a special permit, which had to be applied for extensively. To control the cultivation of medical cannabis, the BfArM (Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices) has set up its own department, the so-called cannabis agency. This is also responsible for the collection and evaluation of treatment data.

With the approval of medical cannabis doctors have received the therapy sovereignty. You decide whether a patient is allowed to receive the flowers or the medicine derived from them. However, the health insurance funds can still refuse to pay the costs, in which case patients have to pay for the prescribed medications themselves. According to information from the Deutsches Ärzteblatt, the health insurance companies reject 25 to 50% of the claims for reimbursement.

Who gets cannabis prescribed?

The prescription for prescribing cannabinoids is "a serious disease" (31 SGB V Drugs and Dressings, paragraph 6). A disease is considered to be serious if it affects the quality of life lasting or life-threatening. It is not restricted by law in which diseases cannabis should be used. Because cannabis contains numerous active ingredients, it can be used in a wide field.

Different effects

The two most well-known drugs in cannabis are THC and CBD. Depending on requirements, varieties with different levels of content can be bred. CBD has anti-inflammatory effects and, according to recent research, may even help to reduce inflammation. Since it has an additional analgesic, sleep-inducing and calming effect, it is versatile. The hallucinogenic THC also has a relaxing, appetizing effect and promotes well-being.
Alternative to painkillers

Treatment for chronic pain disorders is often difficult, as analgesics are generally not taken permanently because they can cause organ damage and addiction. In the case of therapy under medical supervision, these negative side effects are not to be expected when using cannabis. Accordingly, diseases that cause chronic pain are one of the most common uses.

Outbreak of the vicious circle

Patients with chronic pain often sleep poorly. Lack of sleep in turn leads to irritability, stress and increased perceived pain. The combination of the potency of cannabis can effectively counteract this vicious cycle. Prominent example are back complaints, these are described in Germany also as the common illness No. 1. In extreme cases, they become chronic, here depending on the pain zone from the lumbar spine syndrome, thoracic spine syndrome and cervical spine syndrome.

In rheumatic diseases such as fibromyalgia, the anti-inflammatory effect is another positive aspect of fibromyalgia therapy, which has only been known for several years. In an American study in which 1300 fibromyalgia patients were interviewed, 62% of respondents said that cannabis helps them to treat the disease - the other common drugs reached no more than 10% each. Many patients reported that cannabinoid medication provided them with a life that was not dominated by symptoms for the first time since the onset of the disease.

Helpful against numerous diseases

However, the range of diseases in which medical cannabis can be used for treatment goes far beyond chronic pain and rheumatic diseases. It has long been used in obsessive-compulsive disorders such as Tourette and in severe diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Both are among the few cases in which exemptions were granted before 10 March 2017. Spasticity is also prescribed for cannabis. It is a helpful remedy for the burden of cancer chemotherapy. It works against the nausea and vomiting, as well as against loss of appetite and is additionally mood-enhancing.

Future prospects

Cannabis research is still in its infancy. According to experts, the full potential is far from exhausted. Unrestricted cannabinoids are not recommended, like any other drug they are not side effects. However, the good results in many fields of application speak for themselves and it is expected that further drugs based on cannabis will be developed in the future.

Last change: 2017/12/15

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