pill package with cannabis inside

European Cannabis Association: An essential step

Medical cannabis has become one of the most important economic topics in recent years! But, what makes this topic so relevant, and why is it so essential to found a European association? The legalisation of recreational and medicinal cannabis in different states has led to impressive economic progress in recent years. Through worldwide patient campaigns and global marketing strategies, the topic became a permanent information focus for social networks and politics at the end of 2018.

by Rainer Kürger, Managing Director at J&K Group

Even renowned trade fairs, such as Expopharm in Düsseldorf, reflect a trend that cannot be ignored. But, what can be seen behind the strategies and approaches for the production of medicinal cannabis is not conducive to the “enormous” pharmaceutical potential. The delta between potential and lived production practice is enormous and is further negatively reinforced by heterogeneous regulatory requirements. Different approval procedures and classifications of limit values, such as the THC limit within Europe and Switzerland, or the classification of CBD in Europe and North America, is only the tip of the iceberg. Throughout the last years, we confront such a complex and confusing market, that even with our experience of six years in the area of medicinal cannabis, it is challenging to maintain a balanced overview. At the beginning of this year, there were sporadic reports dealing with the topic of effects and effector systems of medicinal cannabis, but today, we can take a look at daily “success stories” for medicinal cannabis. Likewise, there is hardly any other medical topic that is supported by so much personal patient information. The potential and hope for a sustainable “green” miracle substance does not only inspire investors. It is going to be a walk on a tightrope to balance the conflicting goals of stakeholders and the resulting demand for a strong European Cannabis Association (ECA).

On the one hand, we should try to ensure the current care of the patients and to collect all the knowledge we can get, and, on the other hand, we should introduce and implement the existing basis of pharmaceutical manufacturing GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice). This is the only way to produce high quality and reproducible starting products as prescription drugs or as potential active substances, and to underpin the investigations with clinical studies. Another point is the development of standardised specifications and legal framework conditions that should be harmonised internationally. The ECA wants to address exactly this area and offer support in the areas of consulting and development of standards for the production of medicinal cannabis. In order to avoid possible patient risks, clear GACP-/GMP-guidelines must be implemented for the production of the plant, and the product quality must be checked more closely. We also need further and applied scientific research in the field of cannabinoids. Now, we possess the first basic insights, but these are not sufficient for the constantly growing field of application.

Rainer Krueger (42) founded his first consulting firm in 2009. Josteit & Krüger Consulting GmbH (J&K Consulting) emerged from the former JHP Consulting GmbH, in which he held various positions since 2005. Since 2013, Krüger has been the sole managing partner of J&K Consulting GmbH, and in the following years, he founded Krüger Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH & Co KG and J&K Technology GmbH, which he runs as a managing partner.

Published in European Biotechnology | Winter Edition | Vol. 18 | 2019