The first batch of medical cannabis could be in Malta “within a week” after Aurora announced it has begun shipping two strains of medical cannabis to Malta – Pedanios 22/1, and Pedanios 20/1. They began shipping the products yesterday.
“We are very pleased that through Pedanios, Aurora is the first supplier of medical cannabis to Maltese patients,” said Neil Belot, Chief Global Business Development Officer at Aurora. “With an established and highly regarded team, as well as unique regional distribution relationships, Pedanios provides Aurora with an early mover advantage in the large, highly regulated European market. Supplying products to the Maltese medical cannabis system further strengthens our visibility and brand recognition in Europe and internationally.”
Aurora, which is a subsidiary of Germany’s Pedanios GmbH, became the first licensed supplier of medical cannabis to Malta on June 5th, and obtained an export license from German authorities on June 21st. Pedanios also supplies medical cannabis to Germany and Italy.
Pedanios expects Maltese pharmacists to fulfil medical cannabis prescriptions within two weeks
“These 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,” says Dr Andrew Agius of the Pain Clinic.
“They will be available in preparations of 10g tubs in dried form and can be vaporised in an approved medical vaporiser, or can be made into tea for those with respiratory difficulties,” he said.
Dr Agius said this type of medical application can be used on people who suffer from chronic pain, especially neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia, which is a widespread pain that responds to THC. But he believes this is just the beginning.
“In the meantime, there is more than one pharmaceutical company working very hard to get products to market including various oils and tinctures and capsules,” said Dr Agius. “They are working hard on getting tinctures to Malta because thats the most convenient way of administering the medicine to those who have never smoked, or the elderly.”
Accessing medical cannabis in Malta has taken longer than many expected it to take
Cherubino, one of Malta’s largest pharmaceutical companies and the local outlet partnering with Aurora, has been mired in license limbo for months now. They’ve needed to apply for the appropriate licences with the Medicine’s Authority, as well as the import and export licences, which took longer than expected.
Local doctors and pharmacists have also run into multiple obstacles as they tried to supply the medicine. Applications to begin stocking the medicine were refused as the products had never been registered with an export license, leaving patients waiting months on end for a medicine they are approved to access.
Alongside the technical hurdles from the pharmacists side, patients had an even harder time making a case to access medical cannabis as a treatment. Doctors have been advised to take a “last resort” approach to prescribing cannabis, with many doctors complaining they were not fully educated on the new medicine, and don’t feel comfortable prescribing it.
To counter this lack of education in Malta, Kannatalim, a series of informative sessions on medical cannabis aimed at Maltese doctors and medical professionals, has been discussing everything from applications to legalities and has developed into a strong resource for local doctors as well as patients.
With more and more people are turning to their family doctors to ask about medical cannabis, and with the medicine seemingly weeks away from being available locallt, Maltese patients could finally be able to access a medicine that has been legal in Malta for over three months.