Germany imported a record amount of medical cannabis in 2022, according to data from the BfArM (Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices). Nearly 25,000 kilograms of cannabis were imported for medical and scientific purposes in the form of dried flowers and extracts in 2022.
That represents an increase of nearly 20% of cannabis imports in Germany, over the 20,771 kilograms imported in 2021. In 2021, imports still increased by a whopping 77% compared to 2020. The growth rates for 2020 and 2019 were 46% and 80%, respectively. So growth compared to previous years has slowed significantly.
Consequently, while the cannabis import business is booming, a closer look reveals that 2022 annual import growth has slowed significantly since BfArM began collecting cannabis import data in 2017.
Read more on the subject and find other important cannabis news from around the world with Hemp.im mobile app.
Germany consumed record amounts of cannabis on prescription in 2021
Around 9,000 kilograms were delivered to German pharmacies in 2021. The Union had asked the Federal Ministry of Health for information. What is striking is that not only are record amounts being consumed, but the increase in demand is increasing rapidly.
Between about 7 and 9 kilograms were needed in 2011. In the last five years alone, demand has increased from 157 to 9,000 kilograms.
Declining demand for medical cannabis in Germany, pricing pressures, and increasing competition are possible causes
For example, reimbursements for medical cannabis in Germany have been relatively stagnant since 2020, according to the GKV-Spitzenverband. In addition, a large proportion of these imports appear never to have reached patients.
The reasons are possible to be found in the sometimes poor quality. Also, the prices of medical cannabis have been criticized more often. Many patients cannot afford the treatment costs and the drugs from the pharmacy for financial reasons.
The black market can still score points here by selling the cannabis here often even at half the pharmacy price. The high rejection rate of health insurance companies, which is to the disadvantage of patients, can also be listed as a reason.
In principle, medical cannabis can be imported from any country that carries out the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes under state control in accordance with the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and can offer medicinal-quality cannabis. The Federal Opium Agency issues the necessary permits and permits to companies interested in importing medicinal cannabis. To do this, they must submit the appropriate applications and meet the necessary requirements.
Cannabis for medical and scientific purposes was imported from a total of 17 countries in 2021. The largest supplier is Canada, followed by the Netherlands. In third place is Denmark.
The import quantities of cannabis for medical and scientific use have been increasing continuously since 2017. In 2021 around 20.6 tons were imported for medical and scientific purposes in the form of dried flowers and extracts.
Despite slower growth, Germany remains an important market for the medical cannabis trade.
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First published in HanfJournal, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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