As of this week, Verdala Pharmacies in Cospicua have started stocking two strains of cannabis produced by the German Pedanios brand. The products are two strains of cannabis flowers that are both high in THC and low in CBD – the Sativa is 22% THC and 1% CBD and the Indica is 20% THC and 1% CBD.
The strains are available for 17 euros a gram from Verdala Pharmacies, which will go down in Maltese history as the first local pharmacy to stock medicinal cannabis. The pharmacy is also selling vaporisers to be used with the medicinal cannabis, so patients can avoid smoking and combusting it and inhale it in a healthier manner.
The stock comes from local pharmaceutical importer Cherubino.
The news has been welcomed by Maltese patients waiting for their medicine
“You can’t compare the quality of the legal, tested and controlled cannabis with the stuff on the black market”
Dr Andrew Agius of the Pain Clinic, who founded Kannatalim, a series of informative sessions on medicinal cannabis, and is also one of Malta’s foremost experts on the use of medicinal cannabis to treat pain, said that Maltese patients are happy finally access the long-awaited drug.
“The patients who have gotten the prescription can’t believe the day has arrived,” he said. “Over the next month more and more products will be entering the market. The cannabis flowers’ price should go down, there will be more choice of strains, and more products overall.”
With at least 10 Maltese patients approved or on the verge of being approved for medical cannabis, and tens more currently in the process, Malta’s medical cannabis system seems to be finally making its first real movements.
But not everyone is happy with how the new system is being implemented
“I’ve given up on legal medical cannabis in Malta,” Aaron Pavia, founder of the Malta Cannabis Social Club and a man living with chronic pain after a motorcycle crash that left him injured, said after trying to fulfil his legal prescription earlier today.
“I went down to the pharmacy today, asked how much it was, and they said it’s 17 euros a gram. I’m not going to entertain that – people buy it for 12 euros a gram and it’s higher quality,” he said.
It’s not just the price that’s the issue, but the principle of it
“I think it’s very unfair that pharmacists can sell this plant and we can’t even grow it,” he points out, echoing the cry of many Maltese cannabis users as well as pro-cannabis lobby group ReLeaf.
“We now have people who have spent their lives telling you cannabis was bad, who don’t understand the medicine at all, all of a sudden selling it and looking at it like it’s good now,” he said. “It makes me angry – even the green form we use to apply, it’s the same used for methadone users. We are being classed as junkies.”
“What they are doing goes against everything I believe in, they weren’t even storing it correctly, and they are trying to monopolise and take over when they don’t have a clue about cannabis, they have no idea,” he said. ” They are just slimy drug dealers with licenses.”