Chronic pain, depression or Crohn’s disease: Cannabis has been proven to be helpful in more than 50 diseases. Only a few studies prove the healing effect – most of the evidence comes from 1,061 patients who obtained an exemption from the Federal Opium Office of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). For such a prescription, doctors needed prescriptions for narcotics. They had to fear violating the narcotics law; these were often high-wire acts on the verge of legality.

With partial legalization, this is a thing of the past. Now normal health insurance or private prescriptions are sufficient. The doctor and cannabis expert Franjo Grotenhermen, who has been advising chronically ill patients for decades, sees this as an opportunity. It’s easier to just try cannabis: “If it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work. Just like with any other medication.” The risks are low. But will the doctors play along?

In the past, most people didn’t think much of joints as medicine. There are now telemedicine providers who work with doctors. Grotenhermen assumes that patients will continue to have to pay for their therapy out of their own pocket in the future, at costs between 15 and 3,000 euros, depending on the dosage form and the dose required. Health insurance companies will cover the costs upon application if standard therapies are either not available or would foreseeably cause serious side effects in individual cases – and there is a “not entirely remote prospect” of beneficial effects.