Is Cannabis Flower Generic and Basically All the Same?
The importance of classification of cannabis is important across many fronts. First, there is the classification as a narcotic drug with dependence potential as seen by the FDA. The other classification in terms of whether it’s a generic or non-generic medicine is what is bringing confusion in Germany presently. The major players in this fight are the insurers and there is much to argue about as discounts are on the line to think about. Read on as we carefully look into all aspects of this confusion, what it entails and what is the best possible outcome for the cannabis industry.
Before delving into the peculiarities of this fight, we must first get a good grasp of the situation of the cannabis industry in Germany. While there is a stable medical marijuana program in the country for patients in need, the country is yet to legalize recreational use. Lawmakers and active politicians in the country have not risen to the cries for recreational cannabis reforms across different regions. Nonetheless, there is great optimism that the recreational market will soon get approved to provide the needed support and leverage for the medical market to thrive.
As stated earlier, there is a legal medical marijuana market in Germany but it is not without its flaws and troubles. Top on the list is the issue of the classification of the natural herb which looks set to have a tremendous impact on the industry at large. Cannabis in the county is classified as non-generic which has brought issues regarding how to buy and price the product accordingly when needed. The alternative is to have the product classified as generic medication which will open up grounds for proper discount purchase agreements and pricing.
While many might easily want to believe that this classification does not have monstrous implications, the reverse is the case. More than offering solutions and clarifications, classifying cannabis has given rise to numerous loopholes and unanswered questions. The questions and loopholes have in turn affected both the availability of the natural product and its price. It has also influenced insurance reimbursements as parties involved are now at loggerheads regarding how best to address issues.
The present status quo of classifying cannabis as a non-generic medication in Germany only benefits those pushing for recreational law reforms in the industry. While this is equally important, the classification leaves the medical marijuana side at a big disadvantage if not attended to. If this matter of classification is not resolved, patients could be left with no choice but to source the flower illicitly in gray markets.
Dronabinol remains the only cannabinoid medicine in the market that is presently classified as a generic medication. Under the Narcotics Act, dronabinol is defined as a THC isolate that is passively diluted with a non-active oil. The product is sourced from different strains of cannabis flowers yet it is still classified as a generic cannabinoid medicine. This classification of dronabinol has not raised controversy majorly because it contains only one cannabinoid.
While dronabinol remains a good medication on the market, trends have shown that patients prefer to use the natural cannabis flower compared to isolates. This is expected to be a major talking point in the debate on classification but so far it is yet to and it should not be so. It seems like the rights of patients are been ignored in the debate regarding classification as politicians in Germany seek to get a foothold on the matter.
If we are to understand this issue, we will need to look at how cannabis is being handled and characterized in Germany. The classification of cannabis as a plant under German law is still a bit complex as some things are still not clear. Though this issue of classification as a plant is much more a political issue than it is scientific. Different terms have been used to classify cannabis flowers by the medical and legal system in Germany since 2017 with non-being conclusive as of now.
The issue of these definitions is so problematic that patients can still be charged under the Narcotics Act if they grow their cannabis. This is because they will be deemed to have illicitly accessed and abused a narcotic medicine. The problems do not stop there as it also affects the pricing of cannabis and its availability. Patients without insurer approval will have to pay almost twice the amount those with insurers pay at the pharmacy. Patients who fall under this category seemed to have no choice but to fall back to black markets to purchase the products.
The first definition to consider is that the cannabis flower is still considered a “narcotic”. This is irrespective of its source as it also includes those gotten from hemp with less than 0.02% THC level. Certified EU GMP cannabis flower under German law is also not considered a finished medicinal product. Pharmacists are required to prepare the flowers being received from the distributors and repackage them. It is then classified as generic medication after repackaging. These definitions mean that producers and manufacturers who are normally allowed to give discounts for generic medications when sold in bulk will not be able to.
The present situation at hand is far from ideal and that is because those in power have chosen to let it be so. If the issues remain unchecked, they will keep producers and patients at loggerhead in Germany and that is not good for the industry. While the industry tries to remain afloat by selling as much cannabis as it can, some of its patients continue to suffer. It is therefore important that adequate amendments be made as soon as possible in order to help the cannabis patients get the best from the industry.