Since 2006, doctors can prescribe cannabis for therapeutic use. So far the product had been imported from Holland, but now the Cannabis FM-2, produced in Italy, is coming on the market. But what does it change compared to before? The quality. Here’s all there is to know.

From the beginning of January you can find in the pharmacies that will request the first batches of
therapeutic cannabis produced in Italy
: it is called Cannabis FM-2 and was born from a pilot project of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense.
The only authorized place in our country to produce is the Military Pharmaceutical Chemical Factory in Florence: we went to see how it is produced.
But which patients can use them and how?
What has changed compared to the Dutch import therapeutic cannabis used so far?
And again, what are the costs?

What is it and how does it work?
At the origin of cannabis for therapeutic use there is a female plant of Indian hemp, the Cannabis sativa:
the part of therapeutic interest are the inflorescences
, which are on the top.
There are two main active ingredients
, present in different amounts depending on the type of plant, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
It is in particular the first to act, with potential
effects on the symptoms of
even rather serious
diseases
.

For which patients?
From 2006 in Italy cannabis
can be used legally for therapeutic purposes,
with precise rules of prescription and employment.
The general practitioner or specialist, at his discretion and under his responsibility, may prescribe cannabis to alleviate some symptoms, but only if
the classic treatments have not been sufficient or are not tolerated by the patient
.
And only to reduce these problems: spastic movements associated with pain typical of
multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury;
chronic pain
, especially caused by damage to the nervous system (for example in multiple sclerosis or in ALS);
nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, radiotherapy or therapies for AIDS patients
;
lack of appetite
in cancer patients or those suffering from AIDS and anorexia nervosa
;
excessive eye pressure in glaucoma, involuntary movements in
Gilles de la Tourette syndrome
.

How is it assumed?
Two main ways:
through herbal tea or by inhalation
.
In the first case
the inflorescences
are
boiled for 15 minutes
and then filtered: approximately 100 mg per 100 ml of water, the equivalent of a cup (usually one is taken a day, two if there are no effects).
Inhalation, instead,
takes place through an electric vaporizer
in which the substance is put to heat.
Oil is also allowed, but the production and standardization of active ingredients are very difficult.

Italian and Dutch cannabis: what are the differences?
The main advantage of an internal production concerns the
quality
: the Florence plant follows very strict standards in compliance with the European directives concerning medicines and the final product is subjected to greater controls.

Costs
The price of state cannabis is defined by the Ministry of Health: this is the production cost to which the pharmacist’s professional fee must be added (since it is a galenic preparation set up in the pharmacy it is subject to the standard rules set for any other preparation).

We hypothesized that the doctor prescribed a 100mg dose and a 200mg Bedocran dose (one of the commercial names of cannabis, along with Bediol and Bedrobinol) to simulate the costs on 30 maps, then a monthly therapy, including the fee professional.
For 100 mg the expense is 75.21 euros, while for 200 mg you spend 140.55 euros, where the pharmacist’s fee amounts to less than ten euros.