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Switzerland’s ‘Weed Care’ trial of adult-use cannabis to launch January 2023



Switzerland's ‘Weed Care’ trial adult-use cannabis launch January
Cannabis products will be available to buy in selected pharmacies in the city of Basel. Photo by Eryk Piotr Munk on Unsplash.

Europe’s first trial of adult-use THC cannabis is expected to begin in the new year, Swiss officials have confirmed. 

Switzerland’s so-called ‘Weed Care’ trial, the first pilot program to study the effects of adult-use cannabis legalisation in Europe, is set to launch at the end of January 2023.

The pilot was initially announced in August and will see participants permitted to buy certain products including dried flowers in selected pharmacies in the city of Basel.

It is being carried out with the University Psychiatric Clinics, the University of Basel and the Basel-Stadt Health Department, with the idea that it will help inform ‘responsible’ cannabis regulations for the country. 

The landmark project was due to get underway in September but quality control issues with the cannabis initially provided for the trial have contributed to a four-month delay.

The legal framework in Switzerland surrounding the controlled sale of adult-use cannabis for research purposes requires that the products used must be grown organically, rather than through indoor cultivation.

Just before the trial was due to launch, the city’s health department announced that the products that had been provided ‘narrowly failed to meet a quality standard stipulated in the Ordinance on Pilot Trials under the Narcotics Act’. Discussions have since been ongoing to find a suitable alternative.

Renewed approval

According to a release from the City of Basel Department of Health, the pilot has now received renewed approval from the Federal Office of Public Health. 

Six products, including two hashish and four cannabis flower products from Swiss manufacturer, Pure Production, have been approved for regulated sale in selected pharmacies and are fully compliant with the Narcotics Ordinance and the standards of the Organic Ordinance. No products will be imported from overseas as has been reported in some local media outlets.

In a media release, the City of Basel Department of Health stated: “Today it is clear that the ‘Weed Care’ project study can start on 30 January, 2023 with six cannabis products from Swiss organic production. Meanwhile, a second batch was successfully harvested. 

“As originally planned, the manufacturing company Pure Production from Zeiningen, supplies two hashish and four cannabis flower products, which fully comply with the quality requirements of the Narcotics Ordinance and the standards of the Organic Ordinance. The Federal Office of Public Health has issued a new permit.” [Translated from Google]

Around 340 people have already been recruited for the project, with all 370 expected to be on board by the time the pilot gets underway.

Participants will be regularly asked about their cannabis consumption behaviour and their physical and mental health in order to examine the effects of regulated cannabis sales. 

The statement added: “The scientific knowledge gained from this provides a basis for discussion for a future responsible cannabis policy.” [Translated from Google]

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister titles, Cannabis Wealth and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag


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