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Number Of Medical Cannabis Patients In Germany May Exceed 1 Mln By 2024: Report

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Medical cannabis, or medical marijuana, was legalized in Germany in March 2017, and since then, the number of patients being prescribed medical cannabis has been on the rise.

Market intelligence company Prohibition Partners has released a report on the cannabis industry in Germany, which is considered the largest medicinal cannabis market in Europe. We present some of the observations and data discussed in the report in this article.

Before we get into the details, here's what medical cannabis means in a nutshell. Medical cannabis refers to the use of the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat disease symptoms and other conditions, say, epilepsy, pain, and multiple sclerosis. A couple of medications made from marijuana, for example, Sativex, Epidiolex/Epidyolex, Cesamet, Marinol and Syndros, are also available on prescriptions in some countries.

As far as Germany is concerned, the country relies on imports of medical cannabis from the Netherlands and Canada to cater to its demand.

The volume of cannabis flower imported to Germany in 2017 was 1,200 kilograms, and it almost tripled to 3,000 kilograms in the following year. In the first of 2019, the volume of cannabis flower imported was roughly 2,500 kilograms.

It was only in April 2019 did Germany grant its first licenses for domestic cannabis cultivation - awarding a contract totaling 13 lots to three companies - Aurora ProductionGmbH, Aphria Deutschland GmbH and DEMECAN GmbH. The three companies are authorized to cultivate pharmaceutical-grade cannabis in Germany, and the first harvest is expected in the fourth quarter of 2020. A total of 10,400 kilograms of cannabis is expected to be produced over a period of 4 years from the 13 lots.

As recently as last month, Cannamedical Pharma GmbH, a cannabis distributor and one of the best-known medicinal cannabis brands in Germany and the European Union, imported the first medicinal cannabis from Portugal to Germany, representing the largest-ever shipment of medicinal cannabis within the European Union.

According to the report, prescriptions of medical cannabis processed from March to December 2017, were 27,000, and the number jumped to 95,000 in 2018. The prescriptions for medical cannabis have continued to rise and in the first three months of 2019, it was around 60,000, with the number expected to be 240,000 by the end of 2019. The number of medical cannabis patients in Germany may cross the 1 million mark by 2024, predicts the report.

Around 60% of the prescriptions are reimbursed.

In Germany, the cannabis flowers cost Euro 20 to Euro 25 per gram whereas it is only Euro 7 per gram in the Netherlands.

Medical cannabis is widely prescribed to treat pain, followed by spasticity, according to BfArM, the country's medical regulatory body. There are about 20,000 pharmacies in Germany dispensing medicinal cannabis.

The German market for medical cannabis was worth over Euro 73.7 million in 2018, and according to Prohibition Partners, its value may rise to Euro 7.7 billion by 2028. If cannabis is legalized for recreational use too, then the value of the market may reach Euro 16.2 billion.

Source: The Germany Cannabis Report by Prohibition Partners.

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