In just a few months of 2023, Portugal has shipped medical cannabis to different countries. Poland was the second biggest foreign buyer, with import of 1,589 kilograms, according to a report by the Portuguese Pharmaceutical Institute Infarmed.
This one of the prominent importers of medical cannabis from Portugal, currently lacks licensed cultivation of the resource. This situation leads to higher costs for patients who must import all their medical cannabis products.
Why is Poland not producing medical cannabis?
Until March 2022, medical cannabis production was not possible in Poland at all. As a result of the changes then, legal cultivation of cannabis plants was possible exclusively for research institutes. These institutions must be also supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture.
The institute must possess the necessary land, drying facilities, storage, and a laboratory. It must ensure proper cultivation and quality assessment of the finished product. According to the amendment to the law, Chief Pharmaceutical Inspectorate might grant the authorization for cultivation and harvesting of cannabis, after seeking the opinion of the provincial police command.
Cultivation must be adequately documented, supervised, and protected against theft or damage. Additionally, the institute will need to to have an RFID system, which is a remote (radio) monitoring technology. This will enable the identification and surveillance of plants, safeguarding them, among other things, against counterfeiting.
Poland legalised the use of medical cannabis in 2017, and therapies involving its use are becoming increasingly popular and valuable for patients. However, Poland continues to import the raw material, although it could start the cultivation on a much larger scale ourselves, with some law’s adjust.
Potential benefits of local cultivation in Poland
The establishment of domestic medical cannabis growing in Poland has promise for significantly reducing patient expenses, improving treatment accessibility, and encouraging additional investigation into therapeutic uses.
The domestic production of medical cannabis in Poland has the potential to provide significant economic and health advantages. One of the possible benefits is that patients may pay less for their purchases. Additionally, it might encourage scientific investigation into the medicinal applications of cannabis, which would advance the creation of more potent medicines.
It is essential that Poland reevaluate its national medical cannabis strategy in light of these potential. The advantages for the economy and public health are too great to be ignore them.
A suitable step would be to allow not only research institutes but also Polish entrepreneurs to engage in cultivation. It is highly probable that increased domestic production would lead to a reduction in treatment costs, thereby facilitating access to this therapy.