Cannabis in Therapeutic Practice: THE BODY Cannabinoid Expo Joins Forces with therapie LEIPZIG 2023
As part of therapie LEIPZIG from 4 to 6 May 2023, THE BODY Cannabinoid Expo will focus on the use of active cannabinoids and medical cannabis extracted from cannabis plants as ingredients in lifestyle products. The exhibition and lecture programme on 5 May will provide information on the possible uses of cannabinoids in physiotherapeutic practice and sports therapy.
In the following interview, event organiser Dieter Behrentin from Behrentin Communication GmbH discusses the hidden potential of hemp plants and explains what trade visitors to THE BODY Cannabinoid Expo can expect. The expo format was first presented at FIBO in Cologne in 2022, further developed for therapie LEIPZIG and adapted to the needs of the therapy industry.
Cannabis: Exciting Prospects for the Therapy Industry
Mr Behrentin, what is medical cannabis?
Dieter Behrentin: Medical cannabis is used in Germany for tumour therapy and to treat serious diseases such as chronic pain, spasticity and multiple sclerosis. Any general practitioner or specialist (apart from dentists and vets) may prescribe medications containing cannabis. Under certain circumstances, the costs of "prescription cannabis" are covered by statutory health insurance (GKV). The German government has currently agreed upon key points in legalising the private use of cannabis for recreational purposes and intends to submit a draft law shortly. These developments also offer great future potential for the therapy industry.
Why should the therapy industry be focusing on cannabis and applications of cannabinoids right now?
Behrentin: Major progress has already been made in the use of cannabis and/or cannabinoids in therapy and medicine. However, most of the relevant specialist departments only have a basic level of knowledge. This is because the process of regulating and reshaping the cannabis business has been very fast. The issue is very complex and there are constant challenges due to new studies, regulations and changes in the law. For an outsider, it's pretty much impossible to keep track of everything. This is where THE BODY Cannabinoid Expo comes in as part of therapie LEIPZIG. We aim to pass on the latest information, discuss ongoing studies, present therapy options and outline the requirements that therapists and medical staff will be obliged to fulfil. We will go into detail on the current legal situation, look at how the coverage of medical expenses by the statutory health insurance system is regulated and examine the upcoming changes this year in the prescription of medical cannabis.
Could you give us an example?
Behrentin: In March 2023, for instance, the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) decided to amend Germany's Medicinal Product Directive for cannabis medications. In future, you will only need authorisation from your health insurance provider for an initial prescription of medical cannabis or when fundamentally changing your treatment plan. Follow-up prescriptions, dose adjustments or a switch to other dried flowers or standardised extracts will not require renewed authorisation. Furthermore, health insurance providers will only be permitted to decline initial authorisation in exceptional, individually justified cases. Overall, any seriously ill individuals who are insured through the statutory insurance system will be entitled to receive cannabis medications.
Cannabis: An Overview of Products and Applications
What will be the main topics at THE BODY Cannabinoid Expo?
Behrentin: Our novel "cannabis event" will shed light on the potential use of cannabinoids in the health sector today. Among other things, we will show what applications are available to people paying for medicines themselves – the key phrase here is 'wellness cannabis'. Another focus will be on the use of cannabis products such as sports creams, gels and massage oils in professional and recreational sports. We will be discussing the impact that further legalisation could have on medicine and therapy in Germany in the future. Superfoods and food supplements containing the cannabinoid known as cannabidiol (CBD) will also be on the agenda although the industry is still waiting for these to be approved as "novel food". Nevertheless, we can assume that a regular market will develop here from the end of 2023 at the latest.
Who will be exhibiting at the event?
Behrentin: The exhibition will reflect the products, brands and companies that are active in the relevant markets. Berlin-based cannabis start-up Sanity Group GmbH and publicly traded SynBiotic SE from Munich are among the leading cannabis companies in Germany taking part. Other companies presenting their products and services will include "Marktplatz der Gesundheit" (“Health Marketplace”) of Coesfeld, Neo-Cosmetics UG from Wildau, SANALEO GmbH from Leipzig and SatiMed UAB from Vilnius (Republic of Lithuania).
Conference on 5 May 2023: Keynote Address by Ice Hockey Star Kevin Tansey
As part of THE BODY Cannabinoid Expo, a conference will be held on Friday, 5 May 2023. What topics will be on the agenda and who has agreed to speak?
Behrentin: This year's conference will start with a homage to our friend and last year's guest of honour, Professor Raphael Mechoulam, who created a video lecture on CBD specifically for THE BODY. Prof Mechoulam was one of the world's leading scientists in the field of cannabis. Unfortunately, he died in Tel Aviv in March 2023 at the age of 94. High-profile keynote speakers will address the medicinal and therapeutic applications of medical cannabis as well as legalisation, currently the hottest topic in the industry. We will hear from Finn Hänsel, co-founder and managing director of Sanity Group GmbH, and Lars Müller, founder and CEO of SynBiotic SE. Other guests will include Arne Löffel, managing director of the dfv Conference Group, as well as Markus Laurenz from "Marktplatz der Gesundheit", a nationwide programme for preventive medicine and health in urban areas. Laurenz will be speaking in the morning about Germany's Health Prevention Act ("Act to Strengthen Health Promotion and Disease Prevention", 2015/16), which is particularly interesting for therapists. A special highlight will be the talk given by ice hockey star Kevin Tansey on Friday afternoon. Having played in six different leagues and countries, this Canadian-born professional will offer insights into the world of professional sports and the link to cannabis. Wenzel Vaclav Cerveny from the Cannabis Verband Bayern (the Cannabis Association of Bavaria), will follow in the afternoon. Dr Stefan Meyer, president of the Cannabis Business Industry Association e. V., will also be our guest.
Tickets for therapie LEIPZIG are also valid for THE BODY Cannabinoid Expo from 4 to 6 May 2023. Additionally, cannabis will be a topic of the "Medical Fitness & Wellness" forum at therapie LEIPZIG, which will provide information on the therapeutic uses of CBD.
Cannabinoids are the active substances of the cannabis or hemp plant. To date, 120 cannabinoids have been identified, some of which are psychoactive substances, i.e., substances that have psychological and/or intoxicating effects. The two main active ingredients are psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) which has pharmacological effects but is not intoxicating.
Behrentin Communication GmbH has specialised in events and consulting on cannabis since 2018. The agency is one of the pioneers of the legal cannabis business in Germany, developing its own cannabis/hemp event concepts such as THE BODY EXPO, THE BODY'TEC and THE BODY Conference and offering consulting services for companies, athletes and medical practices working with medical cannabis and/or cannabinoids.