Commentary by Dr. Rainer Schreiber, Author, Lecturer, Adult Education and HR Consultant – The Renaissance of Medicinal Plants: Transparency and Understanding for Medicinal Cannabis in Europe.
In recent years, awareness of the therapeutic properties of medicinal cannabis has shifted in Germany and Europe. However, transparency and understanding of medicinal plants in medicine need to be restored in order to meet the increasing demand for herbal therapeutic options.
High-Tech Cultivation of Cannabis: Quality Assurance for Medical Purposes
The discussion surrounding the supply of medicinal cannabis in Germany is characterized by steadily increasing numbers, as reported by the federal government. In 2019, a significant 6.5 tons of cannabis flowers were imported for the supply of cannabis patients in Germany, which is a doubling compared to the previous year. This impressive increase also extends to other therapeutically used cannabis products such as Sativex and Dronabinol, which also show significant growth.
Despite these substantial import quantities, the supply remains almost entirely dependent on foreign deliveries, explains Ridvan Abay, board member of Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG. The reasons for this lie in the strict regulations for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis in Germany. The high import figures not only illustrate the growing demand, but also raise questions about the long-term security of supply. The ongoing discussion about domestic cultivation and the development of strategies for independence from imports shows that Germany is striving to find a sustainable solution for meeting the demand for medical cannabis products.
Modern cultivation methods, as practiced by Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG in Switzerland, have debunked criticism of medicinal cannabis flowers as „Stone Age medicine.“ Research and studies confirm that under controlled conditions in greenhouses or indoor facilities, pure medicinal cannabis can be obtained while high-tech cultivation ensures consistent flower quality and eliminates natural variations in quality. This is the approach pursued by Helvezia AG. They operate in accordance with EU-GMP guidelines and rely on comprehensive quality control procedures to produce the purest medicinal cannabis.
Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG: Focus on Quality and Innovation
With the support of J&K Consulting GmbH, Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG aims to combine comprehensive knowledge of medicinal plants with state-of-the-art technology. Through sustainable cultivation and careful selection, the company strives to produce innovative and effective medicinal cannabis products. Their commitment extends beyond their business operations by actively promoting environmental protection and establishing sustainable practices throughout the value chain.
Europe as the Largest Market for Phytopharmaceuticals
With over 750 million people, Europe is expected to become the largest market for herbal medicines, especially phytopharmaceuticals. The European industry places great emphasis on quality and safety, which is why many EU countries only import products from GMP-certified manufacturers.
Germany: Pioneer in the Medical Application of Cannabis
Since the enactment of the law amending provisions on narcotics in 2017, Germany has experienced a continuous increase in the import volume of medicinal cannabis. In 2021, an impressive 20.6 tons of cannabis were imported for medical and scientific purposes, with increasing imports from the Netherlands and Canada.
The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of the United Nations of 1961 has greatly influenced global sensitivity to the issue of cannabis. As a pioneer in the medical application of cannabis, Germany strictly adheres to the provisions of this convention. According to § 19 (2a) of the Narcotics Act, cannabis cultivated in Germany for medical purposes must generally be purchased by the Cannabis Agency. This crucial step not only ensures the quality of medicinal cannabis flowers, but also highlights the importance of international standards.
Cannabis Agency: Control and Regulation of Cultivation in Germany
The 2017 law not only allowed for the import, but also the cultivation of medicinal cannabis in Germany. The establishment of the Cannabis Agency by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) is a crucial step in the control and regulation of cultivation. As a regulatory authority, the Cannabis Agency focuses on transparency and fairness in the allocation of cultivation contracts. According to the provisions of the 1961 Single Convention as well as the laws on medicines and narcotics, the allocation always takes place within the framework of a bidding process. This clear regulation also applies to complex scenarios where the same company is required to process cannabis flowers into an extract or supply them to a single contracting partner (contract cultivation). The Cannabis Agency awards contracts for the cultivation of a total of 10,400 kg of cannabis flowers in a Europe-wide tendering procedure. The growing demand, which can only be met through imports due to the requirements, is also discussed.
Future Outlook: A Sustainable Approach to Medicinal Cannabis
The Cannabis Agency’s task is to ensure that only cannabis flowers of pharmaceutical quality are supplied to pharmacies. The allocation of cultivation contracts always takes place within the framework of tendering procedures to ensure compliance with international standards.
With its clear legal framework and innovative approaches, Germany stands out as a pioneer in the use of medicinal cannabis. The integration of high-tech cultivation and regulatory control by the Cannabis Agency lays the foundation for a promising future for herbal medicine in Europe.
Author: Dr. Rainer Schreiber
Lecturer, Adult Education & HR Consultant
About the Author:
HR consultant and freelance lecturer Dr. Rainer Schreiber, with a degree in economics focusing on finance, controlling, personnel, and training. The schreiber-bildung.de blog covers topics related to education, further education, and career opportunities.
About Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG
Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG is a family-owned company based in Steinhausen, Switzerland. The company specializes in EU-GMP-compliant production of natural active ingredients and focuses on exclusive supply to the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries with high-quality active ingredients and pure substances. For more information about Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG, visit: https://helvezia.ag/
Helvezia Pharma & Medical Care AG
+41 41 749 97 05
Contact Person: Ridvan Abay