The Comparison of the Situation of Medical Cannabis between Europe and the USA: Focus on Seniors – Europe’s Hesitant Acceptance vs. US Boom among Seniors
In the fascinating world of cannabis research, the USA is already in the pole position, while Europe is catching up hesitantly. Numerous groundbreaking studies have uncovered the enormous potential of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. American scientists have delved into the versatility of the cannabis plant and their findings are attention-grabbing. Studies show that cannabis can not only help with pain therapy and sleep disorders but also has promising potential as a treatment for chronic illnesses. The continuous use of medical cannabis in over 30 US states has created a dynamic research environment that Europe is only tentatively exploring. While the USA is already pushing the boundaries of the medical revolution with cannabis, Europe seems to be in its infancy, with the question of the reasons and opportunities for this gap occupying the critical minds of science.
Hemp: A Plant with Tradition and Future
Hemp, a plant with a millennia-old history in rope and oil production, is currently experiencing a remarkable renaissance, but not as a recreational drug, but as a promising medicine. The active ingredients tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are at the center of intense research and have the potential to revolutionize the medical world.
The Focus of Research: THC and CBD
Cannabis, the Latin term for hemp, is being investigated in numerous studies for its medical properties. THC, known for its intoxicating and relaxing effects, and CBD, recognized for its anxiety-reducing and anti-inflammatory properties, are at the center of scientific interest. This raises complex questions and many misunderstandings that hinder the understanding of the potentials and limitations of these substances.
Europe: Slowly Growing Acceptance and Strict Regulation
In Europe, where the handling of cannabis is traditionally more restrictive, interest in medical cannabis is slowly growing, especially among seniors. However, the laws and the availability of medical cannabis vary greatly among European countries. In Germany, for example, where medical cannabis has been legalized since 2017, strict criteria are applied for prescription and reimbursement by health insurance companies. These criteria include severe illnesses, lack of alternative treatment options, and the prospect of significant improvement.
The medical community in Europe is generally more cautious when it comes to prescribing cannabis. This is partly due to limited research and concerns about long-term effects, especially in older patients. However, there is a growing recognition of the potential benefits of cannabis in the treatment of chronic pain, sleep disorders, and other age-related ailments.
USA: Dynamic Legalization and Broader Acceptance
In the United States, the legalization of medical cannabis in over 30 states has created a dynamic and diverse industry. Seniors are among the fastest-growing groups of cannabis consumers as many discover cannabis as an alternative to traditional medications often associated with unwanted side effects. Studies show that more and more older adults are using cannabis for the first time to treat sleep problems, pain, or anxiety.
Unlike in Europe, there is a stronger movement in the USA towards destigmatization and acceptance of cannabis, both in the medical community and in the public. Cannabis companies are responding to this increasing demand by developing products and dosages specifically for older adults and by offering educational campaigns to promote awareness and understanding of the benefits and risks of cannabis.
In Europe, this approach is supported by a more stringent regulatory environment that focuses on medical research and careful prescription controls. This reflects an attitude that ensures that each application of cannabis is well thought out and examined for its medical benefits. In contrast, the USA takes a more open and liberal approach, leading to broader acceptance and easier access.
There remains a global consensus on the need for further research to understand the full range of benefits, risks, and effective applications of cannabis, especially among older people. Overall, a picture of hope and care emerges in which medical cannabis could play a central role in the future healthcare of older people. It is important to note that, for example, overview studies should be the basis for all actions. More recently, PD Dr. Eva Hoch et al., Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Munich, evaluated 2,000 scientific studies from the past ten years to assess risks, addictive potentials, and opportunities and support them scientifically.
Cannabis as a Unique Medicinal Plant with Potential
Cannabis poses a challenge for governments, health experts, and society. It is not just an ordinary medicinal plant; its effortless cultivation and wide therapeutic spectrum require intensified discussions about decriminalization and faster access to medical cannabis. The pioneering work of companies like Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG and the demands of professional associations contribute to medical cannabis being considered a serious option in modern medicine. The cannabis plant undoubtedly has the potential to revolutionize the medical world, and it remains exciting to see how research on both sides of the Atlantic is driving this pioneering work. It is to be hoped that the exploration and application of cannabis as medicine will continue to advance for the benefit of patients worldwide.
About the Author: Dr. Rainer Schreiber
Dr. Rainer Schreiber, a personnel consultant and freelance lecturer with a degree in economics, is an expert in the fields of financing, controlling, personnel, and training. He runs the blog schreiber-bildung.de, which covers topics related to education, further training, and career opportunities.
About Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG
Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG is a family-owned company based in Switzerland that specializes in EU-GMP-compliant production of natural active ingredients for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.
Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG
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