Unlike in the US, current German laws allow doctors to prescribe cannabis – but only after all other conventional therapies have been exhausted. Soon, medical doctors in Germany will begin writing prescriptions for medical cannabis to patients as they see fit.
Currently, patients must complete a complicated application to the BfArM, which can take up to eight months or longer to process. Only about 900 Germans are legal cannabis patients at present, with another 5,000 or so allowed to use cannabis-based medicines such as Sativex. Starting around March or April, those numbers are going to jump significantly, both for flowers and concentrates.
The German Parliament is set to pass a new law regarding medical cannabis, with the rollout coming about two months later. Under the new law, red tape will be cut and more patients will be able to get safe access to their medicine as doctors will simply be able to prescribe cannabis under a “narcotics prescription.”
The hurdles for the state document allowing the acquisition of whole plant cannabis are high for patients and doctors — the application process takes up to eight months — but this will change soon. On January 19, 2017, the German Parliament (Bundestag) will adopt a law that allows every doctor to simply prescribe cannabis beginning in March or April of 2017 with a so-called “narcotics prescription.”
Currently, Germany’s medical doctors can only recommend cannabis for a patient, and then assist the patient with the complicated application process.
One gram of cannabis currently costs an average of 15 euros, although the strain variety is very limited at seven. The oldest and most popular strain is “Bedrocan” by the Dutch company of the same name, deriving from Jack Herer (Sensi Seeds).
Unfortunately, even under the improved law, health insurance providers won’t start covering the costs of cannabis costs – at least not yet. Currently only limited forms of cannabis-based medicines are available through health insurance providers; Sativex is covered for persons with Multiple Sclerosis, and in very rare and exceptional cases, Dronabinol may be covered. Once the new law goes into effect, the government will begin a multi-year study to determine if health insurance should be utilized for the newly accepted medicine.