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Lack of evidence: benefits of cannabis often not proven
For almost a year and a half, doctors in Germany have been able to prescribe medical cannabis as a prescription medicine. The possibility has been used many thousands of times. But according to health experts, the benefits of such drugs for various ailments have not been proven.
Marijuana for medical purposes
The cannabis law came into force on March 10 last year. Since then, doctors in Germany have been able to prescribe cannabis preparations when all other treatment options have been exhausted. Even before the law was passed, marijuana was used in Germany for medical purposes. However, the patients needed a special permit. Scientific diseases have also shown which diseases cannabis helps with. On the other hand, the benefits of such preparations have sometimes not been proven.
Cannabis works against numerous ailments
In addition to the treatment of chronic pain, ADHD, spastic paralysis and cramps in multiple sclerosis (MS), marijuana is also used for inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as arthritis.
The effect against complaints such as nausea and vomiting has also been scientifically proven. Cannabis is also said to be helpful against migraines.
It is also known that cannabis dilates the bronchial tubes and can improve the breathing of asthma patients. For this, the intoxicant should only be smoked without tobacco.
Furthermore, the calming effects of cannabis can also reduce the spontaneous, impulsive tics of patients with Tourette syndrome.
The appetizing effect of marijuana can also be helpful because people who fight cancer using chemotherapy and radiation therapy often suffer from anorexia. Cannabis also proved helpful for these patients.
AIDS also has a positive effect, in the course of which sufferers tend to lose weight, have no appetite and suffer from pain and nausea.
"Effect scientifically not sufficiently proven"
However, the Barmer health insurance company now warns of excessive expectations and points out that the benefits of cannabis are often not proven.
"There has been a hype about cannabis as medicine, which is only justified in individual cases," said Dr. Ursula Marschall, chief medical officer at Barmer.
"Medicinal products containing cannabis can now be prescribed for many diseases, even if their effects have not been scientifically proven," said the expert.
"For pain, for example, cannabis should only be used as a supplement to tried-and-tested concepts such as multimodal pain therapy," the doctor explained.
As stated in the release, there is no clear evidence that cannabis works in tumor, skeletal and muscle pain.
Most of the applications were made in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia
According to a current evaluation, Barmer has received 6,583 applications for the reimbursement of medicinal products containing cannabis since the cannabis law came into force last year.
According to the information, 4,436 applications were approved and 2,147 rejected. Most applications were made in Bavaria with 1,413 and in North Rhine-Westphalia with 1,270. In Thuringia, the Saarland and Bremen there was the lowest demand in terms of numbers.
As the cash register reports, the total cost of the Barmer for cannabis preparations was around eight million euros, with large cost differences.
While in May 2018, the costs for finished medicinal products and formulations averaged between 350 and 721 euros per cannabis patient, for cannabis flowers they amounted to 1,708 euros.
“Cannabis flowers are not only disproportionately expensive, but also difficult to dose in practice, as there are different types, strengths and forms of administration. Flowers should not be used, especially since there are alternative cannabis preparations, ”said Marschall. (ad)