Malta legalised medical cannabis back in March in what was a historic moment for the island nation, paving the way for the growth of a multi-million euro industry with long term ramifications for Europe as a whole.
However, amid all the foreign companies buying up land to start growing and producing their cannabis as soon as the legislation is worked out, it’s easy to forget the ill people who actually use the medicine to heal.
Incredibly, although there are less than a handful of Maltese doctors who are prescribing the medicine – due, according to critics, to heavy restrictions placed on the prescribing doctor, a governmental educational meeting that seemed to do more harm than good, and limited knowledge on the medical applications of cannabis – around 50 patients have already been approved for medical cannabis, with more and more applying every day.
“The process to get approved took about three months” – Nathaniel*
“I had tried so many medicines, but finally I’ve got something that works wonders and doesn’t make me drowsy,” 40-year-old Nathaniel told Lovin Malta.
Nathaniel suffers from back muscle spasms that he thinks he developed after years of work, and treats it with two strains of Pedanios 20/1, which is shipped to Malta from Germany. Pedanios is one of the few medical cannabis brands being offered in Malta, alongside brands like Bedrocan.
He’s been treating the spasms with various medicines for years, but says he prefers using medical cannabis because it gives him more control over his day.
“I take about 0.3g around three or four times a day from my vaporiser,” he says, showing off a new vaporiser. He says he used to smoke joints with tobacco, but has now switched to using his vaporiser, which is a healthier method.
Pictured: A modern vaporiser
He starts off his day with a dose of the sativa strain
Calling it his “cup of coffee”, he explained how the cannabis comes in two strains: sativa and indica.
The sativa strain, known for giving users a boost and activating the brain, is used in the morning and throughout the day. In this way, Nathaniel is able to work and go about his life normally, as opposed to being in a drowsy state under other types of painkillers and medicine he had previously used.
Pictured: The sativa strain
When evening time comes, he turns to the indica strain
Indica is known to relax a person, from their muscles to their mind, and is best used after work is over.
He laughed about the difference between strains, saying he feels energised with the sativa, but when he needs to sleep or decompress, the indica is what he turns to.
Pictured: The indica strain
When asked if the price of €17 per gram was prohibitory, he said it was to be expected, but hoped it would come down with time
With a handful of pharmacies offering medical cannabis, more and more patients being approved to access it and companies slowly seeing Malta as a key location in the European cannabis market, we can expect to see more people replacing their standard medicines with medical cannabis.