More than 2 million people in the Netherlands suffer from neuropathic pain. As a result, their quality of life deteriorates due to constant pain. These people are given painkillers, anti-inflammatories or anti-epilepsy medicines that often do not work. As a possible (additional) treatment option, doctors and oncologists can also prescribe medicinal cannabis. Medical Cannabis is also prescribed to cancer patients who experience pain, loss of appetite, weight loss and debilitation. Also, in case of nausea and vomiting as a result of medication or radiation for cancer
Medical cannabis is a plant product that is cultivated with the utmost precision under strict government conditions, free of pesticides and other waste materials, without disturbing the environment or surroundings. The substances have a curative effect on disease symptoms. The flower, granulate or oil is prescribed and issued by a pharmacy under the supervision of a doctor. The medicinal cannabis flowers contain an almost exact medicinal amount of active ingredients, so that it can be dosed well as a medicine.
First professional training in the Netherlands for 100 students
“The knowledge of this sector is too fragmented and is shared by government, lawyers, doctors, specialists, growers, pharmacists and scientists, while the rapid growth of the sector in the Netherlands and Europe requires professionals. The medicinal market legalises and professionalises quickly and, in combination with the recreational market, has a market value of several tens of billions of Euros, ”says Eric Uleman, director of CannNext. “What you have seen in other countries in recent years, such as Canada, for example, is that the entire chain has been inefficient for too long, making it extremely expensive to make an end product that meets patient expectations in terms of price and quality nor for a recreational user.
This has led to a lot of capital destruction and that is a shame, because this money could also be used for research and education. In the Netherlands we have a professional cultivation sector, an excellent pharmaceutical infrastructure, a professional service sector and a government with highly experienced employees. We have the best “papers” as a country to take the next step in professionalisation, but we must also ensure that we have enough people who understand the business models and chain. In conversations with governments and organizations, we notice that there is a great need to better understand the landscape, the chain and challenges. ”
Success requires top quality and price for the patient / consumer and the influx of professionals
According to Eric, there is also a lot of experience with patients. This can be better addressed. Research often takes too long, is not always efficient, is extremely expensive and must be done faster. This is necessary because of the aging population and related diseases of aging. A course ensures that the chain can make a professionalization step in a timely manner and that it is also easier to find inflows from, for example, IT, compliance, cultivation and supply-chain management. He points out that cultivation in general and medical cannabis in particular are extremely data-driven and where artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly important role. Many people think you are already there with a seed in the ground or a greenhouse, but that is only a fraction of the business model and the chain. It is an extremely complex new chain that will have to develop the same best practice in a short time that other medicines, vegetables or fruit have taken decades.
Motivated patients and professionals provide accelerated research
When asked whether it is difficult to make people enthusiastic, he replies: “There are many passionate patients who are entrepreneurs themselves or who work for an organization that can help with resources. They have often delved into the matter and are aware of what medicinal cannabis has done for them. You also notice that not much is known about the medicinal ingredients of the plant and that many scientists see a challenge in this. ”
Patients and consumers in resistance to opiates and contaminated products
Why the legalization of medical cannabis has gone so fast in recent years due to public pressure, he points to resistance to opiates among the population and aversion to pesticides among consumers. Eric Uleman emphasizes the pure characteristics of medicinal cultivation and the ban on the use of pesticides. "There is of course nothing more beautiful than a plant that in its purest form can help patients with, for example, pain relief or epilepsy," he continues. “Many people know examples of the positive effect in their environment. In addition, there are a number of products such as Sativex and Epidiolex that have been clinically tested. The government also actively launched campaigns in the past year to reduce the use of opiates ”.
Succeeding in a fast-growing legal market requires an integrated approach
Eric emphasizes that the training and foundation concerns the medicinal uses of cannabis, however he indicates that the intended legalization of recreational production in the Netherlands, much of which is a derivative of the preconditions of medicinal production, will face even greater challenges. to get.
At the end of May he hopes to welcome a passionate Advisory Board that is supported by a number of (patient) working groups. In 2021, a start will be made on educating the first 100 students.