by Stefanie on 05/08/2013 | Uncategorized

Cannabis and ADHD – a Portrait

On June 20th 2013, 150 supporters among the Joint Venture Cannabis as Medicine (ACM = Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin), Self-Support Network Cannabis Medicine ( SCM = Selbsthilfenetzwerk Cannabis Medizin), German Hemp Alliance (DHV = Deutscher Hanf Verband), Cannabis Colonia have protested for the improvement of medicinal cannabis and cannabinoid use in Germany together with patients. Their motto: „Respecting Human Rights of Cannabis Patients“.


1044754_392537120855191_1382088241_nOn June 20th 2013, 150 supporters among the Joint Venture Cannabis as Medicine (ACM = Arbeitsgemeinschaft Cannabis als Medizin), Self-Support Network Cannabis Medicine ( SCM = Selbsthilfenetzwerk Cannabis Medizin), German Hemp Alliance (DHV = Deutscher Hanf Verband), Cannabis Colonia have protested for the improvement of medicinal cannabis and cannabinoid use in Germany together with patients. Their motto: „Respecting Human Rights of Cannabis Patients“.

The request was clear. “When it comes to medicinal use of cannabis, the human rights of citizens living in the Federal Republic of Germany are very often spurned. This two-tier medical system must be changed”, says Gabriele Gebhardt, spokesperson of the SCM. Sensi Seeds previously reported about the German Bundestag dismissing the petition for facilitation of easier access to medicinal cannabis.

One out of many

600179_265998370204801_429283256_nOne of the protesters was Ralf Hermann, 39 years old and ADHD patient. Ralf suffers from this disease since childhood. In addition to that, he has chronic ailments linked to his cervical spine as well as arthrosis. Since December 2010 Ralf is allowed to obtain cannabis from the pharmacy. After countless visits to medical specialists and psychologists as well as a long struggle with authorities, he achieved being allowed to drive under the influence of cannabis in April 2012. The driving licence is essential to Ralf, since he is doing field work in the IT sector. The route to “success” was long and difficult: behaviour therapy, fines, prison sentences, cannabis drug addiction treatment, and the revocation of his driving license.

What is ADHD?

ADHD symbol design isolated on white backgroundNationwide 2-4% of adults suffer from problems of concentration and attention. Ralf is one of them. ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a mental dysfunction, which starts in childhood. With 40-80% of the diagnosed children this will continue past their adolescence. Symptoms like attention deficit, impulsivity and hyperactivity will remain with 35-50% of adults. Sufferers can not find rest, very often are not able to finish things and are constantly moving. They lack a targeted plan of action and can not weigh the consequences of their actions. They tend to have sudden emotional releases and massive emotional reactions. Often, the disease is chronic.

Chemical mix

767a8_111212014916-ritalin-adhd-medication-story-topRalf’s list of prescribed and allowed drugs is long. Academic medicine has made him subject to therapy for 10 years. At first, heroin tablets and Ritalin were provided. “I’ve never touched the heroin pills, saw too much suffering from addicts, and I didn’t want that for myself”, he says and continues: “the Ritalin made me so aggressive I had to stop taking it after 6 weeks”.

For a better understanding: Heroin is a semi-synthetic, analgesic opioid with a very high potential of causing addiction. Despite its six fold higher pain-relieving efficacy in comparison to morphine,  the therapeutic application of heroin is forbidden in most countries. Ritalin is a psycho-stimulant drug used for the medicinal therapy of ADHD. It belongs to the derivatives of amphetamine.

Later in the process, the preparation Dronabinol, a chemically designed Tetrahydrocannabinol, was added to the treatments.

Yes to chemistry and synthetic cocktails? No to the plant cannabis? Because Ralf was not allowed to obtain the one and only substance that ever helped him on prescription, he was forced to purchase it illegally on the black market.

Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen, chairman of the ACM influenced Ralf’s history of disease positively. The doctor told him about the possibility of applying for access to medicinal cannabis at the Federal Opium Centre (Bundesopiumstelle) in Bonn. Another doctor from Heidelberg helped the patient with the application and the cannabis therapy.

Back to nature – cannabis

Along with another ADHD patient and a gentleman suffering from Tourette Syndrome, Ralf was one of the first people in Germany to receive permission to obtain medicinal cannabis from a pharmacy. In December 2012, Sensi Seeds had published a video about the curative effects of cannabis when suffering from Tourette (note: the video is in German). The naked truth though gave this very positive event a reality check:  self-medication is expensive! Pharmacies charge double the amount for their Cannabis Flos compared to what can be found on the black market. Ralf was however no longer willing to put up with the contaminated cannabis provided by the illegal drugs trade despite the much lower costs.

The advantages of self-cultivation of cannabis

1049142_392567037518866_1626925733_oCannabis on prescription is five times more expensive than cannabis obtained by self-cultivation. This is the reason why Ralf applied for a licence to legally grow medicinal cannabis at the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medicinal Products (BfArM =Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte). His doctor prescribes him 50 to 100 grams of cannabis a month. The pharmacy asks €15 per gram, which makes it a total of 750€ to 1,500€ per month. Are these costs taken in charge by health insurance? No. If Ralf were to be allowed to grow his own cannabis, it would cost him significantly less – about €3 a gram. His cultivation request was declined in December 2012. Now, the ACM and specialist solicitors support Ralf and a patient suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, who also applied for the permission,  in their lawsuit. The gentleman with MS won his case end of last year but is still not allowed to grow, because the constitutional state went into appeal.

Why cannabis for ADHD?

In Ralf’s case, ADHD causes different functions such as divided attention, selective attention, sustained attention and vigilance to not fully work.

Without cannabis, he is stressed, anxious and hectic, sometime even short-tempered and violent. With cannabis, he is calm and controlled. “The only thing that has reliably helped me in the past 22 years is cannabis. With this I find inner peace, I am not aggressive, but pleasant and kind. Without cannabis I am a devil, and the pain gets worse.” Words of a patient, whose quality of life and cannabis go hand in hand.

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Adrian Columb

What a great story! I wish I lived in Germany, as its one of the only places that ADHD patents human rights are respected enough to allow them to use cannabis when the pharmaceuticals have failed. The only way for most ADHD sufferers around the world to gain legal access to this vital medicine is for clinical trials to be conducted. Please visit http://www.cannabisforadhd.org to support this project to conduct clinical trials of cannabis to treat ADHD. Together we can fix this!

25/01/2015

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