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Medical cannabis prescriptions rise sharply since becoming covered under public health insurance

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Ninety percent of the costs of cannabis treatment in the country started to be covered by public health insurance as of the beginning of the year.

Last month, medical cannabis was prescribed to 734 patients, which is nearly five times more than in January 2019. In 2018, there were 447 such patients to whom doctors prescribed 4.8 kilograms of cannabis in total.

Cannabis is usually prescribed for chronic pain. It is also used by people suffering from cancer, AIDS or multiple sclerosis.

The Czech Republic expects up to 3,000 patients next year. The contributions will cover 90 percent of the pharmacy price and 30 grams per month with a possible increase of the amount up to 180 grams per month following review doctor’s approval.

Medical cannabis is currently prescribed by about 1.5 percent of the doctors in the country. They will report data on the cannabis treatment to the State Institute for Drug Control (SUKL) using an Internet form. Apart from this, it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people use medical cannabis based on their own decision.

The Health Ministry says the attitudes of doctors on cannabis treatment are disunited as there are not enough clinical studies. There is no clinical study carried out in the Czech Republic.

The Czech law enables to grow technical cannabis with a small amount of the narcotic substance, and also cannabis for medical purposes based on a special license. A private grower can grow five plants at the most for his own use. The growing of more plants is a crime, as is the possession of more than 10 grams of dry mass, the production and other handling of narcotic substances.

Use of medical cannabis (mc) in the Czech Republic:

Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 January 2020
Number of patients 30 130 125 447 477 734
Number of doctors prescribing mc 4 13 18 58 78 77
Sold mc (in grammes) 836 2,577 1,227 4,800 17,000 3,010



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