Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said he was ready to extend the country’s medical cannabis pilot project to assess it significantly.
In fact , Denmark had chosen in 2016 to test medical cannabis on a defined group of patients and for targeted diseases: multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, spinal cord injuries and nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy. The experiment began in early 2018.
However, the test scheme faced many difficulties. In particular, the program did not provide enough products, as they were too expensive. The plan provided that cannabis produced in Denmark could quickly provide access to cheaper products, but Danish production is not yet ready to market the required number of products with strict safety requirements.
Danish doctors also criticized the lack of a guide for the medical treatment of cannabis, which would facilitate the prescription and adoption of the new treatment, particularly by doctors who are reluctant or so far deprived of training on the subject. They also met on their initiative with researchers from teaching hospitals in the Klinisk Cannabis Forum in order to find constructive solutions to the mistakes and gaps they see in the pilot program.
A lack of guide
A recent study by Scleroseforeningen, an association of patients with multiple sclerosis, also showed that most patients who treat themselves with cannabis do not acquire it through experimentation, but without doctor’s supervision and on the black market.
we have to be honest and say that those who were skeptical from the beginning were right to say that there was no ready market in Denmark . You can clearly see that. We were not able to prepare the production quickly in Denmark, it was much more difficult than expected,” explains Magnus Heinicke.
“It’s also , hard to evaluate something that hasn’t really started. The evaluation of the program must be done on an appropriate basis and if, because of start-up difficulties, delivery failures… the test, as it has been done so far, cannot be evaluated, then we must follow the scheme that has been defined and ensure that we can get an appropriate evaluation, and I am also open to the fact that the program may have to be extended for a few years. »
The assessment, originally scheduled for 2020, was to be used to decide to make medical cannabis permanent.