Prague, Czech Republic – According to reports, the consumption of medicinal cannabis has continued to grow at the beginning of 2019 after continuously rising over the past few years.
Czech Republic’s consumption of medical marijuana on the rise
By the end of May, at least 665 patients were prescribed marijuana for medicinal purposes throughout the Czech Republic, while the number of registered doctors authorized to issue therapeutic cannabis has also risen, reaching almost 100. More than 5,000 grams have been prescribed overall since the beginning of the year.
Last year, the consumption and prescription of medicinal cannabis, which has been legal in the Czech Republic since 2013, had already skyrocketed, with 4,800 grams issued, almost four times more than the previous year. The number of medical cannabis patients had also tripled year-on-year in 2018 to reach nearly 450 people.
The figures stem from official data from the Office of the Government’s Drug Policy Department, the Ministry of Health and the Public Institute for Drug Control.
Reimbursement of medicinal marijuana by public health insurance
This rise in consumption follows plans presented by the government to reimburse, though public health insurance companies, up to 90% of cannabis-based treatments, for a maximum dose of 30 grams per patient per month. “We’re aware that medical marijuana is still financially out of reach for some patients”, said Health Minister Adam Vojtech (ANO) when he unveiled the plan in Prague in February.
On Friday, the lower house of Parliament approved the new measure but rejected an amendment presented by the Czech Pirate Party to bring the reimbursement rate to 100% for a monthly consumption of 180 grams per patient.
Apart from the high cost, the insufficient stocks in pharmacies and limited number of doctors who can prescribe marijuana for therapeutic purposes also make it difficult for patients in need to have access to cannabis-based treatments.
Although medicinal marijuana has been legal for six years, the production and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes remains illegal in the Czech Republic, although some politicians, including from the opposition Pirate Party, are attempting to push for a liberalization of the current legislation on the matter.