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How can EU cannabinoid therapy experience for Ukrainian patients?


None of the lobbyists still raises the question that in our country there is a legal opportunity to obtain the necessary permits for this, after which there exists at the legislative level the regulated right of citizens to use technical hemp leaves and inflorescences for self-treatment.
Currently, the governments of most European countries are focusing on the possibility of the legal use of therapeutic cannabis. At the same time, many patients in EU countries fear that the financial benefits of pharmaceutical companies may be a stronger argument for government officials than the need to alleviate the suffering of people in need.
Only in November 2018, the UK allowed the doctors of Albion to legally prescribe cannabis drugs. Greece issued the first licenses for the cultivation and processing of therapeutic cannabis, and Luxembourg legalized the use of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. In most EU countries, at present therapeutic hemp is allowed to be used for medical purposes, mostly in the form of various pharmacological preparations, tinctures or concentrates.
While in some countries of the European Union, patients are struggling for unhindered access to the non-prescription use of cannabinoid therapy, pharmaceutical companies, as well as the largest manufacturers of medical varieties of cannabis, are lobbying for the feasibility of monopolizing this market, which, according to expert estimates, can bring about € 55 billion. That's why a significant proportion of patients who are helped by cannabinoid therapy fear that lawmakers and regulators cannot / refuse agirovat on existing demand, enabling enterprises related to the production and processing of medical cannabis, very slow to develop.
Another significant problem in this EU hemp sector is the fact that the European market is extremely fragmented. Each of the countries of the European Union sets its own rules and standards for cannabis products, cosmetic products, as well as other products containing cannabinoids. That is why the Germans can legally get a prescription for the use of therapeutic hemp from a doctor, while the French are deprived of any options for the legal use of cannabisa for medical purposes. In Spain, where it is legal to use psychoactive hemp for personal use, there are no national rules governing the number of plants a patient can legally grow. The vagueness of the legislation led to the creation of the “Hemp Social Clubs” - registered groups that legally grow psychoactive cannabis.
According to Thomas Skohlund Snegelsberg, co-founder and managing director of the Danish company specializing in the production of medical cannabis StenoCare, the current state of the cannabis market in Europe is a real jungle, and EU-wide EU structures do not help to overcome the legal chaos in this sector.
In June 2018, a member of the Migration and Internal Affairs Department of the European Commission, Peter European, focused the attention of the European Parliament’s committee on the EU’s competence only to support member states in regulating cannabis law, but European governments should independently initiate changes to the regulatory framework of their powers on this issue.
However, government officials in many European countries (including Ukraine) do nothing at all, not least because the legalization of therapeutic cannabis is often confused with the legalization of the use of psychoactive cannabis for recreational purposes.
That is why individual countries that authorize the legal use of therapeutic cannabis for medical purposes, often impose excessively strict rules for its use. For example, in the UK in November 2018, the legal use of therapeutic cannabis for medical purposes became possible. However, the regulatory act has a significant limitation - therapeutic cannabis can be given solely by prescription issued by a medical professional after no other treatment has given a positive result in treatment.Such strict rules for the use of cannabinoid therapy drugs are designed to ensure that cannabis-based drugs are sold exclusively through pharmacies. These restrictions make it impossible for patients in need to grow technical hemp therapeutic orientation at home, as the prices of cannabis medicines are extremely expensive or the patient prefers to choose for himself the possibility of treating hemp plants, "without reference" to a specific drug.
Meanwhile, both on the European continent and in the economically developed countries of North and South America, Asia, Australia, and also Africa, hemp is becoming more and more popular every year for treating patients with various diseases, primarily associated with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, anorexia, insomnia, and various forms of oncology.
According to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, medical cannabis contains more than 100 unique ingredients known as cannabinoids. As evidenced by data including Ukrainian scientists, certain types of diseases are cured only in the case of using a range of components of leaves and inflorescences of cannabis, but not as non-pharmaceutical preparations (during the round table "Cannabinoid therapy" particular speakers focused on the fact that the effect is manifested in the synergy of dozens of components of hemp, and not in extracts of individual cannabinoids, and what component of the plant gives therapeutics the chesky effect, in a number of cases, modern science is not known).
For example, the authorized Sativex (hemp-based throat spray) in almost all European Union countries costs more than € 400 per bottle. However, in Spain it can be used exclusively by people suffering from multiple sclerosis. In the event that this drug is effective in treating other diseases, for patients suffering from various other ailments this drug is not only extremely expensive, but is not allowed for legal use.
Large pharmaceutical companies, as well as pharmacy chains, are lobbying for amending the legislation of their countries in such a way as to prevent the use of patients who need it in any other cannabis alternatives. Arguments in all countries are almost standard: unlicensed hemp may contain pesticides or heavy metals; the dose of leaves and inflorescences, which must be used in each particular case, is not clearly defined, etc.
In connection with the current situation on the EU market, the European Industrial Cannabis Association (EIHA) comes out with open letters and official appeals to the governments of various European countries, stating that “the Association is categorically against attempts by large pharmaceutical companies to turn drug-free cannabinoids (including cannabidiol) into a prescription drug . Such restrictions serve the interests of only a few large pharmaceutical companies and are directly detrimental to the growing cannabinoid therapy industry. ”
For example, in the UK, this kind of situation developed after GW Pharmaceuticals lobbied for precisely such norms that forbid the citizens of the country to use non-prescription therapeutic hemp. The mechanism of such changes to the existing legislation is extremely simple, GW Pharmaceuticals financed a very serious PR company aimed at legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes and having enlisted public support at the last moment lobbied precisely those formulations according to which the use of a plant is possible only by prescription . Naturally, British doctors write out pharmacological agents legalized in the UK. I hope there is no need to additionally explain which drugs can be sold through pharmacy chains in Albion.
After English hemp activists and patients needing hemp-based pharmacological preparations, GW Pharmaceuticals used an active public relations company that promoted the use of the therapeutic properties of cannabisa. Now in the media of the country, pharmacological preparations are actively advertised exclusively under the brand name of GW Pharmaceuticals.
The ambiguity of the situation with therapeutic cannabis brought to the governing structures of the EU. In the summer of 2018, the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament called on the relevant commission to develop a pan-European policy on therapeutic hemp. Immediately after that, the lobbyists of the giants of the pharmaceutical industry actively began to lobby for precisely those formulations that they need to impose on patients products that are manufactured at their production facilities. Representatives of GW Pharmaceuticals and North American Canopy Growth, which recently invested € 100 million in the creation of new production capacities in Europe, are actively participating in this kind of lobbying for their own interests.
Including the efforts of the lobbyists of the above companies, the discussion in the European Parliament is currently focused on whether the resolution should contain the concept of “medical cannabis” or “cannabis-based drugs”. This is important because the first formulation protects the right of citizens to independently grow cannabis for personal use, while the second restricts the sales system to pharmacies.
It is clear that companies that conduct multi-million dollar research want to create a situation in which patients will buy only their products, but much of the research indicates that it is extremely effective to use the plant itself (freshly picked leaves and inflorescences), and not extracts or extracts from him And why is the patient taken away the right to decide for himself how he can be treated as effectively as possible.
It should be noted that the resolution voted in the Commission contains precisely the wording “cannabis-based drugs”, therefore the next step in adopting the appropriate wording of the EU legislature is a debate between all members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Both medical personnel and patients want to see "a certain standardization" of the possibility of using technical cannabis in the EU. The attention is focused on the fact that the EU legislative body should develop a number of recommendations that EU member states should adhere to in the course of legalizing the possibility of using therapeutic cannabis or cannabis applied the “Herbal directive”. The market is interested in the EU “outlining the rules of the game” according to which patients and medical workers can legally work with the plant. It is for this reason that small-scale production of therapeutic cannabis, as well as patients, are struggling at national levels, encouraging citizens in need of cannabinoid therapy to independently grow plants for their own use.
Commentary of the «Ukrainian Industrial Hemp Association»
Analyzing the trends of the all-European hemp market, it can be concluded that the situation in the national market is not fundamentally different from the all-European trends. Over the past few years, an advertising campaign has been actively conducted on the need for the use of pharmacological preparations based on cannabis by lobbyists representing English, Canadian, American or Israeli pharmacological companies (almost complete copy of GW Pharmaceuticals in the UK in 2018). Our patients are “imposed”, including by individual physicians, on the opinion that treatment is possible only with pharmacological preparations that do not contain pesticides and herbicides, and the dosage is such that only the particular disease can be treated with tablets of a particular company.
On the other hand, individual representatives of national pharmacological companies are active in the field of working with therapeutic varieties of technical hemp, trying to buy the unique development of Ukrainian breeders "at the root". At least none of the lobbyists have yet raised the issue that in our country there is a legal opportunity to obtain the necessary permits for this, after which there exists at the legislative level the regulated right of citizens in the use of technical hemp leaves and inflorescences for self-treatment.
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