Medical marijuana surges in popularity in the Netherlands

The demand for medical marijuana is soaring in the Netherlands. Over the past five years the number of doctor's prescriptions for medical marijuana grew by more than 400 percent to over 50 thousand this year, according to figures from the foundation of pharmaceutical statistics SFK, AD reports. 

The number of prescriptions for cannabis oil picked up from pharmacies grew by a massive 60 percent this year. According to SFK, this form of medical marijuana is growing in popularity because it is easier for patients to use than, for example, 'floss' - dried flower heads from which you make tea.

The use of medical marijuana, which is only available with a doctor's prescription, took off in the Netherlands in 2016 with an increase of 75 percent. Jan Dirk Kroon of the SFK estimates that around 8 thousand people in the Netherlands use medical marijuana. "But that is a conservative estimation", he said to the newspaper.

Doctors have mixed feelings about medical marijuana as it is not an official medicine, but patients increasingly ask for it, the Dutch association for general practitioners NHG said to AD. The association is therefore working on a 'position' on medical marijuana, which will be published next year. "We advice GPs to prescribe medical cannabis if the patient with chronic complaints asks for it and if conventional treatment does not help or cause too many side effects." Monique Verduijn of the NHG said to the newspaper.