Start-up from Saxony: German company supplies cannabis

Status: 04/20/2022 10:22 a.m

Demecan was the first German company to supply medicinal cannabis to the German Cannabis Agency. The start-up is one of three producers cultivating cannabis on behalf of the state.

Demecan was the first German pharmaceutical company to deliver cannabis for medical use to the German Cannabis Agency. The start-up with its production facility in Ebersbach, Saxony, is one of three companies that grow cannabis in Germany on behalf of the state.

The other two pharmaceutical companies are in Canadian hands: The company Aurora has its production facility in Leuna in Saxony-Anhalt. Tilray, which has already shipped cannabis, is the third company to produce in Neumünster in Schleswig-Holstein.

Medicinal cannabis

Since 2017, patients in Germany have been able to have their doctor prescribe cannabis for medical purposes. It is used, for example, for pain therapy in the seriously ill. Since then, the drug has been booming: According to the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), 20.6 tons of cannabis flowers and extracts were imported last year alone.

20 million euros in investments

The German company Demecan is currently said to produce almost 1000 kilograms of medicinal cannabis per year. In total, the three companies are to produce a good ten tons over four years. In the event that the demand for German cannabis should increase, the German Demecan founders from Saxony could, according to their own statements, expand their production capacity to more than ten tons of cannabis flowers per year in the short term.

Demecan was founded in 2017 by doctor Adrian Fischer, lawyer Constantin von der Groeben and economist Cornelius Maurer. They produce their cannabis on a former slaughterhouse site in the Meissen district. The proximity to Dresden is an advantage, the founders say in an interview with the news agency dpa. The drug is manufactured under strictly guarded conditions in an indoor production facility.

According to their own statements, the three founders invested 20 million euros for the production in Ebersbach – 30 percent of this came from funding sources, the rest came from investors. In addition to the expansion of the halls that had not been used for a long time, the technology was particularly expensive. The company meticulously collects data in each of the cultivation halls.

Keywords: cannabis and THC

The hemp plant “Cannabis sativa” is, so to speak, the starting material for hashish and marijuana. The most important active ingredient is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is particularly concentrated in the resin of the flower, which is consumed as hash. The resin consists of around 400 substances, of which more than 80 have an effect on the psyche. Marijuana is a mixture of dried leaves, flowers and branches.

According to the German Narcotics Act, cannabis and cannabis products are illegal addictive substances, the possession and cultivation of which are prohibited and prosecuted – as is trading in them. According to the German Head Office for Addiction Questions, frequent heavy consumption can lead to psychological dependence. Like alcohol, cannabis impairs the ability to drive. The drug can lead to hallucinations, a feeling of cold and aching limbs, and in higher doses to disorientation, anxiety and mood swings.

Every plant should have the same quality

“Our goal is to provide patients with the same quality for every single plant,” says founder Adrian Fischer. Each flower must contain the same amount of the substance THC so that patients do not accidentally ingest too much or too little: “Constant quality can best be guaranteed in indoor cultivation.” In this way, for example, the temperature or the CO2 content can be precisely determined.

In order to offer the plants the best possible conditions for growth, Demecan simulates the seasons in the halls using different lights. After the start of production last October, the founders have now produced several crops. Their quality is regularly checked in our in-house laboratory. There are also external controls by the authorities.

Companies hope for legalization

It is not known how much the cannabis agency, which was specially founded and is based at the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), pays for the flowers from Saxony. Just this much: Pharmacies would have to pay EUR 4.30 per gram to the agency, which acts as an intermediary between the companies and the pharmacies.

The entrepreneurs are now also hoping for the planned legalization of cannabis: According to the coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP want to introduce “controlled sales of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed shops”.

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