Researchers hope to recruit 25,000 Berlin weed-smokers for study

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Photo: DPA.
14:56 CEST+02:00
A research initiative hopes to get approval for a study that would recruit 25,000 recreational cannabis consumers in Berlin - if it can get government approval.

The group called the Research Initiative on Cannabis Consumption is hoping to get an application for a new study approved so that they can analyze the “consequences of cannabis for psychologically healthy, adult consumers”. The aim is to understand what effects cannabis use has after several years, according to the group, which was started by a Berlin lawyer and a clinical psychology professor at the Medical School Hamburg.

The initiative reported last week that they had submitted an updated application to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) for approval.

BfArM declined to comment to Tagesspiegel on Monday as to whether it had in fact received the application, or what chances the project might have for being approved.

Germany officially legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes at the beginning of this year, allowing doctors to prescribe their seriously ill patients the drug if they believe it will bring about positive results.

SEE ALSO: Why Germany legalized medical marijuana

But the research initiative is hoping to shed light on the effects of recreational use - which is still illegal - rather than of medical treatments.

So far 2,000 people have signed up to participate in the study within the first ten weeks of the search. The initiative leaders said that in selecting participants, they will rule out anyone under 18, first-time pot smokers, as well as anyone with potential addiction or psychiatric problems.

If the study obtains approval, participants would be allowed to pick up 30 grams of cannabis normally reserved for medical patients each month from a pharmacy.

“In Germany several million people regularly get high on cannabis,” wrote lawyer and chief executive of the project Marko Dörre in a statement.

“It is time that science becomes more engaged with recreational use.”

Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug in Germany, with 7.3 percent of teens and 6.1 percent of adults reporting that they had used it at least once in 2015, according to a report released earlier this month.

Up until the recent medical cannabis legislation, just a select few could apply to be granted permission to consume the drug if they had serious medical conditions. Only around 1,000 people had been given this permission when the law was passed.

The new law will also allow the government to collect data and do research on the therapeutic use of cannabis.

“With the law implemented in March changing controlled substance regulations, the German parliament took on a new risk assessment of cannabis,” said Dörre.

“The new assessment will also benefit science.”

SEE ALSO: Six things to know about weed in Germany

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