Danish medical cannabis users can breathe a sigh of relief, as the oil-bassed products approved by the government’s strict regulations are finally back on the legal market. The entire program however may still suffer for some time as users may be slow to return, and further hurdles such as those experienced with their Canadian suppliers could continue to interfere with cannabis supply chains.
After an absence of two and a half years, medical cannabis oils are back in the Danish program, which should give a boost to the struggling scheme.
They are not the only country struggling either. To stay up to date on all the latest international medical cannabis and hemp news, download our companion Hemp.IM app today!
Not all Pastures are Green for Danish Medical Cannabis Program
After a strong start, with patient numbers reaching 2,000 in 2019, the program came to a halt after the oil-based products supplied by the national company Stenocare were withdrawn from the market.
With the number of patients now down to about 1,500, it is expected to start growing again as people who prefer cannabis oil products can once again obtain their preferred medicine.
Stenocare CEO Thomas Skovlund Schnegelsberg says the new product should be available to patients in the first quarter of this year, subject to international import and export certificates.
Trial Period for Danish Oil and other Medical Cannabis Products extended to 2026
He said, “This announcement reinforces our position as the first and only supplier of cannabis oils to the Danish pilot program. This underlines our position as the undisputed market leader in Denmark.”
The challenge for many patients in recent years is that only three products containing cannabis in flower have been approved by the Danish Medicines Agency (DMA) and made available to patients.
Products in oil form therefore offer a real method of administering medical cannabis for patients.
The re-entry of the oils into the program also marks the beginning of a new four-year trial period and comes as new rules allow domestic companies to grow cannabis and produce cannabis-based medicines beyond the end of the new trial period in 2026.
Conor O’Brien, an analyst at Prohibition Partners, believes these developments will provide a boost to medical cannabis patients in the Scandinavian country.
He said, “The release of Stenocare oils from the experimental program in Denmark has had a significant impact on the cannabis industry. Many patients began sourcing medical cannabis from compounding (extracts and isolates prepared in pharmacies) or turned to pharmaceuticals such as Epidiolex when it hit the market in 2020.”
Strict regulation continues for medical cannabis in Denmark
“However, many patients appear to have left the legal cannabis market after the loss of cannabis oils from the pilot program, with the number of patients dropping by more than 20% 12 months after the event. The reintroduction of the oils will be a welcome development for many patients around the country, although it remains to be seen how many patients will return to using the oils after switching to alternative treatments.”
The disruption in the supply of cannabis oils in 2019 is the result of Health Canada’s identification that several batches purchased by Stenocare from Canadian producer Canntrust having been grown in unapproved facilities.
Health Canada subsequently suspended portions of Canntrust’s license, which led Stenocare to end its collaboration with Canntrust and halt imports.
Schnegelsberg said patient numbers rose quickly from 300 to about 1,100 after the introduction of the oil-based products, driving Stenocare’s sales in the first five months of 2019 to 4.4 MDKK (about €600,000).
No other oil-based products have been approved by the DMA in the interim, and Stenocare is currently working with the DMA to get two more oil-based products approved for the pilot program: a CBD oil and a THC-CBD blended oil.
Schnegelsberg added, “The Danish regulatory regime is recognized as by far the most difficult to pass in Europe. We were only able to do this because of the experience of our regulatory team and the ability of our supplier, AgMEDICA Bioscience, to meet the requirements of the Danish Medicines Agency.”
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