French Medical Cannabis Program Excludes Cannabis Flower, Transition Underway

France is on its way to launching an official medical cannabis program, but a recent update from the French National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) indicates that cannabis flower won’t be part of it.

The medical cannabis experiment in France started in August 2021 and is scheduled to conclude in 2024. Patients who applied before March 26, 2024, will be accepted, marking the final year of the experiment. The full launch of the medical cannabis program is expected in 2025.

In a February 20 update, ANSM clarified that as patient applications close, access to cannabis flower will also cease. “Medicines in the form of flowers will no longer be available in the coming weeks,” ANSM announced. “Prescribing doctors are advised to gradually discontinue flower treatments for their patients and refrain from initiating new treatments with this form.”

Following March 26, a transition period will precede the official launch of the French medical cannabis program in 2025.

ANSM advises healthcare professionals to help patients transition away from cannabis flower treatments and suggests patients consult with their medical practitioners to adjust their treatment plans accordingly.

Over the past three years, 3,035 individuals participated in the experiment, with 1,842 currently undergoing treatment. ANSM highlighted the effectiveness and safety of medical cannabis based on data collected during the experiment.

Aurora Cannabis, the sole approved supplier for cannabis flower in the program, commenced supplying three types of flower in August 2021: high-THC, balanced THC/CBD, and high-CBD varieties.

On December 26, 2023, the French social security financing law authorized medical cannabis use for five years, ensuring patients can continue their prescriptions, albeit without access to cannabis flower.

The decision to halt medical cannabis supply has faced criticism, particularly regarding the abruptness of the change. Dr. Nicholas Authier, involved in the program, expressed concern about the impact on patients accustomed to long-term treatments.

The fate of medical cannabis flower post-2025 remains uncertain, with the French government attributing its exclusion to the manufacturer’s decision. Aurora Cannabis provided free flower during the pilot program, making discontinuation understandable post-experiment.

As France progresses with its medical cannabis program, Germany recently legalized adult-use cannabis. Effective April 1, individuals over 18 can possess cannabis publicly (up to 25 grams) or at home (up to 50 grams), with cannabis social clubs emerging as the sole source of access until July 1.

Meanwhile, U.S. cannabis brands eye European expansion opportunities. Wana Brands, a Colorado-based edibles company, partnered with Switzerland’s Alpen Group, aiming to establish a presence in the EU’s adult-use market. CEO Nancy Whiteman emphasized the commitment to quality and pioneering presence in emerging markets.


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