A growing number of Danish doctors prescribe medical cannabis to treat patients, reports DR.
Although pharmaceutical production of medical cannabis is not illegal in Denmark, Kristian Østergaard Nielsen from Glostrup Apotek in the western suburb of Copenhagen is so far the only one in Denmark who makes the medicine available for purchase.
Nielsen has been manufacturing oils and pills containing either thc or cbd – the active ingredients in marijuana – since January 2016.
Some 50-60 doctors now prescribe cannabis medicine from the pharmacy – more than double compared to November 2016. About 500 patients have been treated with the products.
Not yet approved
The medicine can, in principle, be prescribed by any doctor in the country if they are willing to take the responsibility.
The products have not been approved by the authorities and the Danish Medicines Agency discourages doctors from using them.
The cannabis plants are grown in greenhouses in Austria and processed in Germany, where the active ingredients (thc and cbd) are extracted. Nielsen then prepares the final products.
Used for patients with cancer and multiple sclerosis
The cost of a 30 ml bottle of cbd or a 10 ml bottle of thc is about 2,000 kroner.
The Danish health insurance covers the costs fully for terminally-ill patients.
Medical cannabis is being used to alleviate pain and to treat a number of diseases, including multiple sclerosis, AIDS and cancer-related side effects.
As of 2017, the use of medical marijuana has been legalised in a number of European countries including the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Finland, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Romania and Macedonia.