Tuesday April 7, 2020

Germany legalizes the use of Cannabis for medicinal purposes for people who are chronically ill

The draft law says patients will only have the right to be treated with cannabis "in very limited exceptional cases" and patients will not be allowed to grow their own cannabis

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FILE - A variety of medicinal marijuana buds in jars are pictured at Los Angeles Patients & Caregivers Group dispensary in West Hollywood, California. VOA

Germany’s lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a law that legalizes the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes for people who are chronically ill.

Those suffering from serious illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and chronic pain or a lack of appetite or nausea could be offered marijuana under the law.

The draft law says patients will only have the right to be treated with cannabis “in very limited exceptional cases” and patients will not be allowed to grow their own cannabis.

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“Those who are severely ill need to get the best possible treatment and that includes health insurance funds paying for cannabis as a medicine for those who are chronically ill if they can’t be effectively treated any other way,” said Health Minister Hermann Groehe.

A Health Ministry spokeswoman said cannabis would only be used as a last resort when nothing else seemed to work. She said a scientific study would simultaneously be carried out to assess the effects of cannabis use in such cases.

Until now patients had only been able to get access to cannabis for medicinal purposes with special authorization which had made it complicated, but now they will be able to get a prescription from their doctors and a refund for it from their health insurance fund, she said.

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She said the law was likely to take effect in March after a procedural reading by the upper house of parliament.

State-supervised cannabis plantations will be set up in Germany in future and until then cannabis will be imported. Other countries that allow cannabis to be used for medical purposes include Italy and the Czech Republic. (VOA)

Next Story

Find Out why Pregnant Women with Depression are Likely to Use Cannabis

Depressed women during pregnancy are likely to consume alcohol and use marijuana

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Pregnant women with depression are more than three times more likely to use cannabis than those without depression. Pixabay

Researchers have found that pregnant women with depression are more than three times more likely to use cannabis than those without depression.

For the findings, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, the research team investigated whether the relationship between depression and cannabis use differed by age, other sociodemographic characteristics, and perception of risk associated with cannabis use.

“We found the prevalence of cannabis use was much higher among those with depression who perceived no risk (24 per cent) relative to those who perceived moderate-great risk associated with use (5.5 per cent),” said study researcher Renee Goodwin from Columbia University in the US.

According to the researchers, data were drawn from the 2005-2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual survey of persons ages 12 and older in the US.

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According to the researchers, approximately one in four pregnant teens with depression used cannabis in the past month. Pixabay

Pregnant women were categorised as a current cannabis user if they responded they has used marijuana at least once during the past 30 days.

Among pregnant women without depression, those who perceived no risk had higher levels of use (16.5 per cent) compared with those who perceived moderate-great risk (0.9 per cent), though both these levels were substantially lower than among women with depression.

Depression appears to increase vulnerability to cannabis use even among pregnant women who perceive substantial risk, the researchers said.

“Perception of greater risk associated with regular use seems to be a barrier to cannabis use, though pregnant women with depression who perceived moderate-great risk associated with regular cannabis use were more than six times as likely to use cannabis than those without depression,” Goodwin said.

This suggests that depression may lead to use even among those who perceive high risk,” Goodwin noted.

Cannabis use was significantly more common among pregnant women with, compared to without, depression. Over one in ten (13 per cent) pregnant women with a major depressive episode reported past-month cannabis use compared with four per cent without depression who reported using cannabis.

This was the case across all sociodemographic subgroups, the study said.

According to the researchers, approximately one in four pregnant teens with depression used cannabis in the past month.

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“As brain development is ongoing until age 25, cannabis use in this group may increase risks for both mother and offspring, our results provide recent nationally representative estimates suggesting that education and intervention efforts should be targeted at pregnant teens,” Goodwin said. (IANS)