24 March 2017
Rarely does one get such a well researched article about a European regulatory environment for medical cannabis. The Dutch system has been complicated to say the least.
This article does answer some questions and also puts a ? in front of perceived knowledge and challeng a couple of sacred cows with regard to the Dutch market
Here’s the introduction
The Netherlands is a major exporter of medical marijuana, even though it has never been formally approved here as a treatment for Dutch patients.
And this year, the majority of Dutch health insurance companies stopped paying for it as well.
Esther O’Toole investigates. Guus de Lange from Amsterdam has endured severe migraines for over 10 years: ‘Nothing else worked. The migraines were very frequent and extremely painful and medical cannabis is the only thing that alleviated them.
All the other drugs came with dreadful side effects too.’ De Lange is one of an increasing number of patients in the Netherlands who have found mediwiet the best relief from conditions as varied as chronic pain, nausea associated with cancer treatment, and muscle spasms associated with MS. Medical cannabis has been allowed on prescription in the Netherlands since 2003 and until recently was often covered by health insurers, if patients could show no other medication gave adequate relief of symptoms. Cannabis as a medicine is different from other prescription drugs as there are a wide variety of types, with a wide range of active compounds in them that can affect the body – including THC, the substance that produces a ‘high’.
Low THC strains are used in the development of medicines for conditions like childhood epilepsy, other types with higher THC are specifically used for relief of extreme pain in adults and conditions like MS. As a medical drug, mediwiet is popular.