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The Corona pandemic continues to have the world in its grip. In addition to vaccines, experts are increasingly focusing on medicines that mitigate the course of the disease and prevent severe courses. A study from the USA shows that compounds obtained from hemp can slow down the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus as it enters human cells.   

Scientists at Oregon State University found out in neutralisation tests in the laboratory that the cannabinoids CBGA (cannabigerolic acid) and CBDA (cannabidiolic acid) prevented the docking and penetration of Sars-CoV-2 into human epithelial cells. Their assumption: The two hemp acids bind to the spike protein of the virus, which sits like a spike on its surface. This seems to reduce the risk of infection.   

Advantage of the cannbinoids studied is wide distribution

According to the experts around study leader Richard van Breemen, CBGA and CBDA have the advantage that they are widespread and easily available. The two active substances are present in the hemp plant and in numerous hemp extracts, they are easily extractable and do not have a psychoactive effect. Van Breemen also recommends oral intake of the preparations, for example in the form of drops or tablets. Last but not least, the researchers assume that they can kill two birds with one stone by using the cannabinoids: Not only will the risk of infection be minimised, but the symptoms of the disease will also be easier to bear in the acute course.   

Efficacy against variants B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.351 (beta) investigated  

The study shows that the ingredients of cannabis were effective against the alpha and beta variants of Sars-CoV-2. So far, no statements can be made about the subsequent variants. Nevertheless, the authors are optimistic and assume that the two acids investigated also have effects on other currently existing and future variants of the corona virus.   

There is no way around the Covid-19 vaccine  

For van Breemen and his team, it is clear that cannabinoids alone cannot end the fight against the global pandemic. They therefore recommend the combination of CBGA, CBDA and a vaccination. The currently available vaccines and possible antibody therapies also target the spike protein of the corona virus.   


Van Breemen RB, Muchiri RN, Bates TA, Weinstein JB, Leier HC, Farley S, Tafesse FG. Cannabinoids Block Cellular Entry of SARS-CoV-2 and the Emerging Variants. J Nat Prod. 2022 Jan 10:acs.jnatprod.1c00946. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00946. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35007072; PMCID: PMC8768006. 

Oregon State research shows hemp compounds prevent coronavirus from entering human cells | Oregon State University 


Potential for further future growth in the European cannabis markets  


The pharmaceutical company for Cannabinoids CanPharma GmbH is joining forces with Australian pharmaceutical company Health House International. This strong partnership provides Health House with access to the highly valuable German medical cannabis market. CanPharma has a global player in Europe and Australasia on its side through the merger, which provides the German company with a solid basis for future growth both domestically and internationally. In addition, Health House gives CanPharma access to products that the pharmaceutical company can also bring to market in Germany. 

CanPharma holds the highest pharmaceutical licences (GMP) from the German regulatory authorities, which allow the company to import, manufacture and distribute cannabinoid-based products in both flower and extract form. CanPharma has been importing and distributing dried cannabis flowers in Germany since 2019. In May 2021, the company launched cannabis extracts under its own brand. CanPharma is in an ideal position to benefit from the continued growth in prescription numbers in Germany.  

The partner company, the Barcelona-based Kalapa Clinic, remains part of the group. Kalapa was the first counselling centre for medical cannabis to be established in Europe. It advises healthcare professionals and patients on the appropriate use of cannabis-based medicines for the treatment of various indications. With its headquarters in Spain, Kalapa Clinic is in a strong position to expand into the Spanish market as soon as legislation allows.  

CanPharma’s management team consists of industry specialists with years of experience in the cannabis industry. As part of the acquisition, CanPharma’s founder, Dr Henrik Sprengel, will remain CEO of CanPharma and has been appointed to the board of Health House International. Prior to founding CanPharma, he was CEO of the company’s founder Grupo HS3, which successfully launched several international projects in various industries with a focus on the internet and technology. CanPharma’s current CFO, David Attwood, will be appointed Group CEO of Health House and will assume overall responsibility for the group’s operations.  

Health House International is an international pharmaceutical wholesale company specialising in the distribution of medicinal cannabis products in Australasia, the UK and Europe, among other markets. The company currently distributes more than 11 medicinal cannabis products throughout Australasia. Through its wholesaler and controlled drug licences, the company supplies medical cannabis and general pharmaceutical products to pharmacies, hospitals, government agencies, veterinarians and other wholesalers in Europe.  

For more information, please visit  

“The partnership with Health House has the potential to position us as a market leader in Europe – a fast-growing medical cannabis market with the greatest global potential. We believe CanPharma is in a position to gain access to the growing number of patients in Germany, offer a broader range of products and expand medical education,” explains Dr Henrik Sprengel, co-founder and CEO of CanPharma. “This model, coupled with Health House International’s expertise, global networks and reputation, will drive our development and enable us to expand the company’s footprint across Europe.”   

David Wheeler, Director of Health House, adds: “We are delighted to officially welcome the CanPharma team to the Health House Group, where they will play a leading role in the future growth of the company. By leveraging CanPharma’s licenses, product offerings and expertise, we are expanding our market reach and strengthening our position as a global leader in the distribution of medical cannabis products.”  


About CanPharma  

CanPharma GmbH is a pharmaceutical company with wholesale and manufacturing licenses and a unique portfolio of medical cannabinoid products. Our mission is to become a leading European pharmaceutical company and to improve the quality of life of patients* by providing advanced products. Our manufacturing partners meet the highest pharmaceutical quality standards, the EU GMP guidelines. CanPharma supplies pharmacies throughout Germany with high-quality products and educates professionals and patients about the professional use of medicinal cannabis.  


For more information, please visit  

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Clemens Jacker  

Marketing Director  

CanPharma GmbH 


Chronic sleep disorders are extremely stressful. Productivity and health are impaired because those affected cannot recover sufficiently at night. In a double-blind study the effect of medicinal cannabis on chronic sleep disorders (chronic insomnia) was investigated for the first time by an Australian research team.

The result: A cannabis extract with the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD) is an effective and safe therapy for chronic insomnia.  

Two-week cross-over study with cannabis extract and placebo in 24 sufferers with chronic insomnia 

At the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of Western Australia 24 patients with an average age of 53 years took part in the randomised, placebo-controlled cross-over study. In this study sleep behaviour without medication was monitored for a fortnight with an activity monitor worn on the wrist and with sleep diaries. The participants recorded how long they fell asleep, how long they slept, the quality of their sleep and how restful their sleep was. In addition the researchers carried out a polysomnography in the sleep laboratory, whereby the body functions of the sleeping person were observed during one night. Afterwards the 24 participants were randomly assigned to the cannabinoid or placebo group, whereby neither the patients nor the researchers knew whether they were taking placebo or cannabis. The two-week study phase was followed by a week without medication before the patients switched to the other group. Monitoring was also done using a sleep diary, activity tracker and polysomnography. The researchers used an oily extract containing THC, CBN, CBD and terpenes as a cannabis-based medicine. The placebo extract contained the same terpenes but no cannabinoids. The participants took the medication sublingually, i.e. under the tongue, one hour before bedtime every day. After four days the dose could be doubled after medical consultation. In order to determine possible side effects, the researchers contacted the participants during the first days and after dose increases.  

Side effects disappear overnight or quickly after awakening 

Two-thirds (67%) experienced mild side effect but these largely disappeared overnight or shortly after awakening. The most common were dry mouth and dizziness. Only one subject discontinued the study due to adverse effects, therefore data from 23 patients were analysed. Caution should be exercised in elderly patients and those with a psychiatric history as hallucinations and dizziness are problematic. 

Medical cannabis shortens the time it takes to fall asleep and extends sleep time 

The sleep diaries of the study participants showed clear improvements in sleep: sleep duration increased. When taking the placebo extract, this averaged 5.06 hours and climbed to 6.11 hours with medicinal cannabis. Cannabis was thus able to extend sleep duration by a good hour. The time to fall asleep was also 38.1 minutes with cannabis, compared to 46.9 minutes with placebo. Those affected fell asleep 8.8 minutes faster on average with the cannabis drug. 

The measurements by means of activity monitor and polysomnography also proved improvements: Under placebothe sleep duration was 6.52 hours according to the measuring devices and increased by 33.5 minutes to 7.07 hours when taking the cannabis extract. Thus the participants who took cannabis reached the recommended sleeping time of about 7 hours for adults. 

Improved sleep quality and recovery 

The participants also rated sleep quality and restfulness on a scale from 0 (very poor or not rested) to 4 (very good or very rested). As a result the patients rated sleep quality as 2.5 and restfulness as 1.2 without taking medication and under placebo.  

Both ratios improved with the cannabis extract to 1.8 for recovery and 3.2 for sleep quality. Those affected slept better with medicinal cannabis and woke up more refreshed. Another positive effect is that the assessed cannabis extract does not influence the duration of sleep stages. 

At what point are sleep disorders chronic? 

6 to 15 percent of the population has to struggle with chronic sleep disorders that occur in the form of difficulty falling asleep and/or sleeping through the night. If the complaints appear on more than 3 nights a week and persist for longer than 3 months, experts speak of chronic insomnia. While patients with insomnia need more than half an hour to fall asleep, patients with insomnia wake up at night and stay awake for more than 30 minutes or wake up very early in the morning (more than 30 minutes before the desired wake-up time). 

Larger studies needed 

The scientists concluded that medicinal cannabis can be an alternative for chronic sleep disorders. However studies with larger groups of people are needed to clearly prove the effect and to inspect the optimal dosage. 



Jennifer H Walsh, Kathleen J Maddison, Tim Rankin, Kevin Murray, Nigel McArdle, Melissa J Ree, David R Hillman, Peter R Eastwood, Treating Insomnia Symptoms with Medicinal Cannabis: A Randomized, Cross-Over Trial of the Efficacy of a Cannabinoid Medicine Compared with Placebo, Sleep, 2021;, zsab149, 


More and more patients with chronic pain are using the non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD) to relieve their pain. A survey of patients in America showed that cannabis-based medications and CBD reduced chronic pain in a large proportion of them. In addition, these medicines help to reduce the use of opiate-based painkillers.

Survey in seven pain clinics in America

A total of 253 patients from seven pain centres in Southern California were interviewed. The average age of the patients was 45.4 years. They were invited to participate in the survey through posters and flyers.

62 % of the respondents (152 people) already had experience with CBD products. Back pain was the most common type of pain with a share of 67.3 %. This was followed by nerve pain (46.7 %) and neck pain (44.7 %). In about half of the cases (56.3 %), the psychotropic and pain-relieving tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was also contained in the cannabis product.

Chronic pain conditions treated included:

  • Back pain
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Neck pain
  • Migraine
  • Limb pain
  • Fibromyalgia


The CBD products were taken in different ways. The most common was by inhalation (62.9 %), followed by edible cannabis products (54.3 %) and oral cannabis tinctures (52.3 %). Some of the respondents had experience with several forms of administration.

The delivery forms used included:

  • Inhalation or smoking
  • Edibles
  • Oral tinctures
  • Topical cannabis preparations (cream, ointment, oil)
  • Capsules
  • Spray


Less pain for most people affected

For 59% of the respondents, CBD products help to alleviate their chronic pain. In addition, around 68 % of the patients were able to reduce the dosage of other painkillers. 53.7 % of the respondents were even able to reduce the intake of opiate painkillers.

In the survey, those affected were also asked about experiences in their surroundings, i.e. from friends, family members and acquaintances, regarding the use of CBD products. The result was positive, as 78.1 % of the respondents stated that they knew people who had successfully treated complaints with CBD. The results regarding tolerability were also quite positive. Only about 7 % of the respondents reported undesirable side effects.

A huge 91.9% of respondents said they wanted to learn more about the medicinal uses of CBD.


The state of research on CBD for chronic pain

There is still much research to be done on the treatment of chronic pain with CBD. However, it is already known that CBD has a low abuse potential. CBD even has rather the opposite effect. An American study in 2019 showed that Epidiolex®, a CBD-containing drug, can reduce addiction pressure and anxiety in patients with heroin addiction.

For chronic pain, especially neuropathic pain, recent data suggests that the cannabinoid THC has a greater analgesic effect than CBD. In 2020, another American study showed that chronic pain patients were able to reduce the dosage of their opiate painkillers after being treated with CBD for 8 weeks. THC and CBD-containing medications can therefore support pain relief.

More studies are needed in the future to find out whether CBD is an effective treatment alternative for the different kinds of pain disorders. In addition, the differences between CBD isolates and full-spectrum extracts need to be further investigated.



Schilling JM, Hughes CG, Wallace MS, Sexton M, Backonja M, Moeller-Bertram T. Cannabidiol as a Treatment for Chronic Pain: A Survey of Patients’ Perspectives and Attitudes. J Pain Res. 2021;14:1241-1250


Venous leg ulcers – also called “open leg” – are deep, poorly healing wounds on the lower leg. Older, chronically ill patients suffer most often from this disease. An additional therapy with topical cannabis-based medicines accelerates wound healing. A Canadian research team recently found this out in an open study. One reason for this is the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as flavonoids and terpenes, which are contained in the cannabis plant.

Why do patients get venous leg ulcers?

The disease occurs as a result of circulatory problems in the legs. Most often due to weakness of the leg veins. Here, the return transport of the blood to the heart is impaired. The ulcers are usually treated with compression bandages, which support the return transport of the blood. In addition, medicines applied externally to the skin, so-called topical medicines, are used to heal the wounds.

With these methods, however, the chances of complete wound healing are only 50 to 75 percent after six months of optimal treatment. The chance of the ulcers coming back within a year is 40 to 70 per cent. For this reason, patients must wear compression stockings as a preventive measure.

Some risk factors for venous leg ulcers are:

  • Chronic venous insufficiency (weakness of the leg veins)
  • Peripheral arterial occlusive disease
  • Reduced walking ability
  • Advanced age
  • Obesity
  • diabetes mellitus
  • High blood pressure

Complete wound closure in 79% of patients

The open study at a wound centre in Toronto involved 14 patients with a total of 16 wounds. The usual therapies such as compression stockings had not helped the study participants and the ulcers were on average older than six months. One patient had even been suffering from a wound for more than twelve years. The average age of the participants was 75.8 years and they had more complex concomitant diseases. In addition, most patients had risk factors for reduced wound healing such as oedema (water retention) and peripheral arterial circulatory problems.

Treatment was with compression bandages and topical cannabis-based medicines. The cannabis preparation was applied to the wounds and the adjacent area every two days by the patients themselves. The cannabis formulation contained the cannabinoids THC and CBD, the flavonoids quercetin, diosmin and hesperdin, and the terpene beta-caryophyllene.

The outcome of the treatment was very encouraging. Complete wound closure was observed in 11 patients (79 %) and 13 ulcers (81 %) after an average of 34 days of treatment. In the other subjects, advanced wound healing was observed. Side effects did not occur.

Interaction of cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important role in wound healing. The anti-inflammatory effects of THC and CBD are mediated via the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are abundant in our skin. Cannabinoids also lead to a widening of the blood vessels, which improves tissue perfusion as well as oxygen supply.

The terpene beta-caryophyllene binds to CB2 receptors and also has an anti-inflammatory effect. The flavonoid quercetin can also accelerate wound healing and diosmin, hesperidin as well as flavonoids strengthen the veins.

Simple and safe wound treatment with topical cannabis medicines

The study shows that cannabis preparations for external use accelerate wound healing in venous leg ulcers. Even in wounds where conventional therapies no longer help properly, healing was accelerated significantly. Another advantage is the uncomplicated application, which patients can carry out independently at home. In the future, there will be further studies investigating topical cannabis preparations against other types of wounds.


Maida V, Shi RB, Fazzari FGT, Zomparelli L. Topical Cannabis-Based Medicines – A Novel Adjuvant Treatment for Venous Leg Ulcers: An Open-Label Trial. Exp Dermatol. 2021 May 19. doi: 10.1111/exd.14395. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34013652.


According to the GAMSI report of the statutory health insurance funds in Germany, medical cannabis is becoming increasingly important in the treatment of diseases. In 2020, sales of cannabis-based medicines grew to 165 million euros. 16 million euros of this fell on March alone – the record month in terms of sales. Prescriptions of medical cannabis also increased in 2020 by 27 percent compared to the previous year. Cannabis flowers in unprocessed form or as preparations were prescribed most frequently. Prescriptions for cannabinoid preparations such as dronabinol capsules and finished medicines also rose sharply. From 2019 to 2020, the increase here was 76 percent.

Turnover of cannabis prescriptions increases by 34

In 2020, around 340,000 prescriptions for cannabis-based medicines, flowers and prescriptions were issued by doctors. This is an increase of 27 percent compared to around 267,000 prescriptions in 2019.

This also means an increase in gross sales, which climbed to 165 million euros. In 2019, medical cannabis recorded gross sales of 123 million euros. This means that sales increased by 34 per cent from 2019 to 2020.

Unprocessed cannabis flowers are preferred

The report of the statutory health insurance funds states that in 2020, unprocessed cannabis flowers and the preparations from cannabis flowers have the largest share of total gross sales with 43 percent. However, the number of prescriptions of these decreased by 9.7 percent.

More precisely, this means: unprocessed cannabis flowers are increasingly prescribed. From 2019 to 2020, prescriptions have increased from 91,229 to 100,090. That is an increase of 10.5 percent.

The situation is different for flower preparations. These fell from 43,952 in 2019 to 21,262 in 2020, a 51.6 percent reduction in prescriptions in one year.

Prescriptions for cannabinoid prescriptions and finished medicinal products increase

In 2019, 66,359 prescriptions for cannabinoid preparations (e.g. dronabinol capsule) and finished medicines were prescribed. This was the second highest value of all cannabinoid-containing medicines.

In the following year, the ratios changed significantly. If the prescription figures for unprocessed cannabis flowers and cannabis preparations are considered separately in 2020, cannabinoid and finished medicinal product prescriptions are the largest group with 117,171. Unprocessed cannabis flowers rank second and Sativex® ranks third.

Constant turnover figures in 2020

Turnover in 2020 is relatively constant at around 41 million euros per quarter. A year earlier in 2019, the turnover figures increased from quarter to quarter. In the first quarter of 2019, around 24.5 million euros were recorded. In the last quarter, these then rose to 36.6 million euros. This means that turnover grew by 67 %.

One reason for the increase in total annual sales from 2019 to 2020 is the approval of Epidyolex®. Epidyolex® is a cannabidiol-containing drug for rare forms of epilepsy in children (Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome). This was approved in Germany in October 2019. Other cannabis medicines include Canemes® and Sativex®, which generated steady sales.

Cannabis extracts are gaining in importance

Turnover with unchanged extracts, on the other hand, has increased. In the first half of 2020, i.e. from January to June, sales were 3.96 million euros. In the second half of the year, gross sales rose to almost 5 million euros. This corresponds to an increase of 26.1 percent.


Gross sales of finished cannabinoid-containing medicinal products and preparations

2019Gross sales in million euros*
1st quarter (January - March)24,5
2nd quarter (April - June)29,5
3rd quarter (July - September)32,3
4th quarter (October - December)36,6
Full year123

2020Gross sales in million euros*
1st quarter (January - March)41,9
2nd quarter (April - June)40,1
3rd quarter (July - September)40,1
4th quarter (October - December)42,7
Full Year165

* Rounded values

In what form is medical cannabis prescribed?

  • Unaltered cannabis flowers
  • Cannabis flowers in preparations: cannabis flowers crushed, sieved and, where appropriate, packaged in individual doses for inhalation after vaporisation or tea preparation.
  • Unmodified cannabinoid-containing substances such as cannabis extracts
  • Cannabinoid-containing substances or finished cannabis medicinal products in preparations: e.g. dronabinol in the form of drops and capsules; other finished medicinal products in preparations such as alcoholic inhalation solution or oily cannabis resin solution.
  • Imported cannabinoid-containing finished medicinal products: Marinol® (dronabinol capsules), Syndros® (dronabinol solution).
  • Cannabinoid-containing finished medicinal products: Canemes® (nabilone capsules), Epidyolex® (cannabidiol solution), Sativex ® (oral spray with tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol).


The GAMSI report only contains the data of statutory health insurance patients. Data from private patients and self-pay patients are not statistically recorded here.



The whole world is looking for ways to fight the corona virus. Whether it is new hygiene concepts, new vaccines, or therapies to inhibit infection or start the recovery process. A team of researchers from the University of Chicago has now discovered CBD as one of these possibilities. In a study published on 10 March 2021, they show the connection between the intake of CBD and a reduced infection rate.

CBD with antiviral effect

The researchers discovered that taking CBD inhibits the multiplication of SARS-CoV 2. They discovered this by treating lung cell cultures with a cannabidiol solution and exposing them to the virus after two hours.

Two days later, the lung cells were tested for viral spike proteins and the result indeed showed that CBD is able to inhibit the multiplication of the viruses.

Only CBD inhibits the multiplication of SARS-CoV 2 viruses

Other cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG) and CBDA were also investigated. However, CBD alone showed an antiviral effect at a therapeutic dosage.

Fewer corona infections among CBD users

In order to further expand the findings in a real-world setting, 93,000 Corona test results were analysed. The results showed an infection rate of 10 percent among all tests. This rate dropped to 5.7 per cent in patients with a history of cannabinoid therapy. The greatest difference was seen in the infection rate among people who regularly take CBD. This was only 1.2 percent. Thus, the results from real life underline those from the laboratory.

How does CBD work against SARS-CoV 2?

The researchers are investigating two ways in which CBD could counteract the virus. First, there is the possibility that CBD promotes an antiviral immune response. This means that it helps the body to classify the virus as dangerous so that it can counteract it early. Another possibility is that CBD counteracts the cytokine production. The cytokine production is promoted by viruses and can have life-threatening consequences.

Taking CBD has some advantages over other agents or therapies such as Remdesivir or antiviral antibodies. It is easy to take at home without a visit to the hospital or doctor. In addition, the tolerability is significantly better.

The optimal dosage, application and drug formulation will be further investigated in future studies. Until then, the researchers advise against the preventive use of CBD to combat corona.


Cannabidiol Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 Replication and Promotes the Host Innate Immune Response

Long Chi Nguyen, Dongbo Yang, Vlad Nicolaescu, Thomas J. Best, Takashi Ohtsuki, Shao-Nong Chen, J. Brent Friesen, Nir Drayman, Adil Mohamed, Christopher Dann, Diane Silva, Haley Gula, Krysten A. Jones, J. Michael Millis, Bryan C. Dickinson, Savaş Tay, Scott A. Oakes, Guido F. Pauli, David O. Meltzer, Glenn Randall, Marsha Rich Rosner

bioRxiv 2021.03.10.432967; doi:


CBD can help with epileptic seizures. An American study now shows that the effectiveness of the cannabinoid increases over a longer period of therapy. In the second year of treatment, the significant effect on the frequency and severity of seizures was clearly more pronounced than at the beginning.

Reduction of epilepsy seizures with CBD extract

The study by the Department of Neurology and the UAB Epilepsy Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA, involved 169 people with treatment-resistant epilepsy – 89 of them children and 80 adults. They received a CBD extract (Epidyolex). The researchers defined the response to treatment with cannabidiol by a reduction in seizure frequency of 50 percent or more.

This significant reduction in seizure frequency was more pronounced after 2 years of treatment than within the first month of starting therapy. In addition, the research team found that this effect was more pronounced in the 80 adults after one year than in the 89 children in the study. The percentage of children who achieved a reduction in seizure frequency by half or more was 44% in the first month, 41% in the first year and 61% in the second year. For adults, this rate was 34% in the first month, 53% in the first year and 71% in the second year.

Greatest improvement in adults in the second year of therapy

Seizure severity was also significantly reduced by the CBD product: Children showed a 52% seizure reduction in the first month, a 51% reduction in the first year and a 75% reduction in the second year. Seizure reduction in adults was even significantly higher, at 60%, 81% and 85%. In comparison, adults reported greater improvement than children after two years of therapy.

Refractory epilepsy – resistant to treatment

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), epilepsy affects about 50 million people worldwide. It is one of the most common chronic neurological diseases. The disease is characterised by recurrent seizures that either affect the whole body or only a specific part. Occasionally, people with epilepsy may also lose consciousness during seizures. Refractory epilepsy is a difficult-to-treat form of the disease that does not respond to antiepileptic drugs.



Gaston TE, Ampah SB, Martina Bebin E, Grayson LP, Cutter GR, Hernando K, Szaflarski JP; UAB CBD Program. Long-term safety and efficacy of highly purified cannabidiol for treatment refractory epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2021 Mar 2;117:107862. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.107862. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33667843.


Almost three quarters of the people who receive cannabis medicines on prescription in Germany use them to treat pain. Of these patients, 70 percent perceive an improvement in symptoms. This is shown by the interim result of the accompanying cannabis survey of the BfArM (Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices).

What is medical cannabis used for?

With 73%, the lion’s share of all cannabis prescriptions in Germany is issued for the therapy of pain. This is followed at a great distance by the treatment of spasticity (10%), anorexia/wasting (6%) and other indications (10%). Doctors prescribe dronabinol in 65% of the cases, followed by cannabis flowers, Sativex, with an increasing tendency cannabis extracts and in last place nabilone.

Which specialist groups prescribe cannabis?

The largest group of doctors prescribing cannabis are pain physicians (anaesthesiologists) with a share of 49%. This is followed by general medicine (17%), neurology (12%) and internal medicine (10%).

How successful is cannabis therapy?

In the largest group of cannabis patients, those with pain as their primary symptom, 34% felt their pain was significantly improved and 36% felt it was moderately improved. Thus, medical cannabis was able to alleviate the suffering of a total of 70% of pain patients. 28% said their pain was unchanged.

Among people with multiple sclerosis as their main diagnosis, spasticity improved significantly in 41% and moderately in 43%.

35% of the cannabis patients discontinued their therapy within one year. In 25% of the cases, this was due to the side effects and in almost 40% due to insufficient effect of the therapy. In 21% of the cases, the person concerned died ­– this is also counted as a therapy discontinuation in the accompanying survey.

Private prescriptions not recorded

When looking at these results, it must always be kept in mind that the accompanying survey does not cover all patients treated with cannabis medicines in Germany: The data of self-payers, privately insured persons, inpatients and persons treated within the framework of clinical studies are not transmitted. Furthermore, no survey is compiled for persons who receive the finished medicinal products Sativex and Canemes according to the approved indications.

Accompanying cannabis survey – what is it?

In Germany, doctors who prescribe medical cannabis at the expense of the statutory health insurance are obliged to take part in an accompanying survey on the use of these medicinal products. The survey is conducted by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). After three years, this institute has drawn up an interim balance with more than 10,000 data sets that were available by the evaluation deadline on 11 May 2020. One year earlier, the BfArM had already published an interim result based on the data evaluated by then.

The objectives of the survey are the monitoring of side effects and the tolerability of cannabis products. In addition, the survey is to show for which indications cannabis is prescribed. The results should serve as a basis for the planning of later clinical studies.



Schmidt-Wolf, G., Cremer-Schaeffer, P. 3 Jahre Cannabis als Medizin – Zwischenergebnisse der Cannabisbegleiterhebung. Bundesgesundheitsbl (2021).


A survey among people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) found that over 8 percent of PD patients use cannabis products. More than half of these people report a positive effect of cannabis treatment. The results are based on a survey from Germany.

Parkinson’s disease and cannabis: interest is high

Interest in the therapeutic use of cannabinoids to alleviate various symptoms is growing steadily – and this is also true for Parkinson’s disease. The survey was conducted among the members of the German Parkinson’s Association (Deutsche Parkinson Vereinigung e.V.).This is the largest association of Parkinson’s patients in German-speaking countries with almost 21,000 members. The researchers aimed to investigate the attitudes of people with Parkinson’s disease towards medicinal cannabis and to evaluate the experiences of patients who already use cannabis products. The research was published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

For the survey, researchers analysed more than 1,300 responses. These showed that the Parkinson’s community’s interest in medicinal cannabis is high, but knowledge on the subject is limited. At least 28 percent of the respondents knew about the different forms of intake, such as inhalation and oral intake. However, only 9 percent were aware of the difference between the active cannabis ingredients THC and CBD.

How does cannabis help with Parkinson’s disease?

More than 8% of survey participants reported using cannabis products, and more than half of these users (54%) reported a positive clinical effect. The general tolerability was good. More than 40 percent of the respondents said that it helped them with pain and muscle cramps. And more than 20 percent noticed a reduction in stiffness (akinesia), restless legs and tremors, as well as depression and anxiety.

Furthermore, it is interesting that the patients reported that inhaled cannabis products containing THC were more efficient in treating stiffness than oral products containing CBD. On the other hand, THC was slightly less well tolerated.

Cannabinoid treatment for Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s patients who used cannabis tended to be younger, lived in large cities and were better informed about the legal and therapeutic aspects of medical cannabis. 65 percent of the respondents who did not use cannabinoids before were interested in using medical cannabis. Lack of knowledge and fear of the side effects were given as the main reasons for not trying it.

“Our data confirm that patients with Parkinson’s disease have a high interest in treatment with medicinal cannabis, but they lack knowledge about how to take it and especially about the differences between the two most important cannabinoids, THC and CBD,” says study leader Prof. Dr. Carsten Buhmann, medical director of neurology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). “Doctors should take these aspects into account when advising their patients about treatment with medicinal cannabis. The data reported here can help doctors decide which patients might benefit, which symptoms might be treated, and which type of cannabinoid and route of administration might be appropriate.”

Taking cannabis, Prof. Buhmann admits, could be associated with a placebo effect due to the high expectations of those affected. However, the medical doctor does not assess this negatively, because “even that can be seen as a therapeutic effect.” Nevertheless, he points out that the results of the study are based on subjective reports and that clinically appropriate studies are urgently needed.

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CanPharma has a pharmaceutical wholesale permission according to §52a of the German Medicines Act, as well as a license to handle narcotics in the meaning of §3 of the German narcotics legislation. Furthermore, CanPharma has a GDP-certified quality assurance system.



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