Legislation for Patients in Denmark
There are four ways to obtain legal cannabis for medicinal use today.
- Approved drugs and drugs with a dispension license
- The magisterial scheme
- The trial scheme
- Prescriptions from a doctor in the EU
Approved drugs and drugs with a dispension license
Furthermore, there are three imported products: Bedrocan which is THC-dominated and Bediol, which is approximately 1:1 CBD/THC. These products are granuated flowers that can be either vaporized or used to make tea. The third is Sativex, which contains the active cannabinoids THC and CBD in equal proportions, and is mainly prescribed for sclerosis patients. THC and CBD in this product originate from the cannabis plant.
Finally, Danish doctors can apply to dispense two other products with synthetically manufactured THC. These are the drugs Marinol and Nabilone, which are drugs approved in the United States.
As a general rule, hemp in its natural form can possibly pass as food if there are no indication of any medicinal benefits and CBD content.
If, as a consumer, you are told by the seller that a product is legal, it will most likely be a products consisting of hemp seeds, stems – possibly as a powder. This will likely be healthy, but not contain a bit of cannabinoids. The closest will be a few places that have been allowed to sell hemp leaves as tea.
The magisterial order
Danish physicians have been able to prescribe cannabis through the magisteral order since 2011.
In 2011, the law on euphoric substances was changed. Otherwise, the drug Sativex could not have been approved as a drug in Denmark. This change in legislation also meant that doctors could now prescribe plant-based cannabis through the magisteral scheme.
To prescribe magisteral medicine means that a doctor can prescribe pretty much anything that he finds will medically benefit his patient if he takes the responsibility himself.
When the doctor prescribes through the magisteral order, he must provide a “recipe” for what the drug should contain and how it should be dosed. The pharmacy then produces the drug and handles it to the patient. There are only two pharmacies in Denmark that manufacture drugs for the magisteral order, and only Glostrup Pharmany handles cannabis.
As a rule, either CBD or THC is extracted and processed from the cannabis plant.
The trial scheme
On 1 January 2018, a four-year trial scheme came into effect. This means that all doctors can freely prescribe cannabis for medicinal use. The scheme includes both imported cannabis products and Danish cultivated and processed cannabis.
The products are not approved medicinal products, but are approved by the Danish Medicine Agency (Lægemiddelstyrelsen) for prescription through the trial scheme. The Danish Medicine Agency recommends four areas in which there is reasonable evidence that cannabis works for in some patients.
The areas are:
- Painful spasms due to multiple sclerosis
- Painful spasm due to spinal cord injury
- Nausea after chemotherapy
- Neuropathic pain, i.e. pain due to brain disease, spinal cord or nerves
However, the law is designed so that prescription is entirely a matter between the patient and the doctor. Manufacturers are fully responsible for the product itself and the doctor for the prescription with the consent of his patient.
Cannabis products are exclusively plant-based with different variants of, among other things, cannabinoids and terpenes. The form can be anything from the raw cannabis flower over oils for plastics, spray to chewing gum.
From 1/1 2019, a financial supplement scheme has taken effect retroactively for the entire trial period. That means that if you have had a prescription under the trial scheme you will automatically be reimbursed 50% up to 10.000 DKK. For terminal patients, the financial supplement is 100%.
Prescription from within the EU
Due to Denmark’s membership of the EU, it is possible for patients to receive prescription and dispensing of cannabis in another EU country.
Some have used this scheme before the trial scheme came into effect, and some use it if they are unable to find a doctor in Denmark who will prescribe cannabis.
If you want to use this scheme, you will usually find a doctor in, for example, Germany or the Netherlands who will prescribe cannabis. You also have to make sure you have a medical pass/pill pass so that the medicine can be carried across the border. The drug may be used for 30 days.