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The German medical cannabis law of 2017

Franjo Grotenhermen (Nova-Institut GmbH, Hürth Germany)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 23 May 2018

Issue publication date: 30 May 2018




The purpose of this paper is to give a review on the developments leading to the 2017 law on the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids in Germany, and to present the major advances arising from this law for the supply of patients with cannabis-based drugs and its major limitations.


This paper used an Analysis of the major political statements and documents as well as court decisions of the past 20 years, which can be regarded as the major steps of this development.


Since 1998, when dronabinol/THC was made available in Germany on prescription there have been continuous improvements of the access to cannabis-based medicines. The law of 2017, which made cannabis flowers available to patients on a doctor’s prescription and forced health insurers to pay for a treatment under certain circumstances was a major step. However, many patients, who profit from a treatment with cannabis still do not get access.


The German law on the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids of 2017 is unique in its kind in the world. Compared to the legal framework in other countries it has several disadvantages, for example with regard to the high prices of cannabis flowers (€20-€25 per gram), and several advantages, for example with regard to the role of health insurers.



Grotenhermen, F. (2018), "The German medical cannabis law of 2017", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 117-122.



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