Medical cannabis from the hospital greenhouse has reached the patients. The St. Anne’s Hospital in Brno thus has a global unique feature

The St. Anne’s University Hospital in Brno is a pioneer in the field of medical cannabis. While medications from the cannabis plant have been prescribed to patients at the Pain Treatment Center of the Anesthesiology and Resuscitation Clinic of FNUSA and LF MU for several years, only now has the hospital become independent in their research and production. The St. Anne’s Hospital thus confirms its position as a Czech leader in cannabis research and treatment.

Two batches of medical cannabis are currently heading to the hospital pharmacy. “One has a balanced ratio of THC and CBD content, while the other has a high THC content. The decision on which will be prescribed to which patient is made by the doctor,” explains the lead researcher, Václav Trojan.

Leader of Cannabis Facility Team Václav Trojan.

Research on medical cannabis has been conducted at the International Clinical Research Center (ICRC), a joint facility of St. Anne’s Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University, for over five years. It involves comprehensive research on the plant, from studying its genetics and content compounds to exploring new applications in treating various diseases.

Personal use of cannabis with a THC content higher than 1% is legal in our country, but its distribution and sale are prohibited. ICRC is one of the few institutions in the Czech Republic licensed to cultivate cannabis for medical use. Scientists grow the plants under controlled conditions, regularly regulating light, heat, humidity, and carbon dioxide. “This allows us to ensure that the products will consistently contain the same amount of active compounds. Additionally, cannabis has the ability to absorb and concentrate all elements from the soil, including harmful ones. We have this under control in our cultivation,” adds Trojan. And this is precisely what makes cannabis grown at the International Clinical Research Center fundamentally different from home-grown cannabis. “Maintaining these conditions is crucial. Only then can we call the resulting product a medicine.”

Cannabis itself contains over 480 compounds. Scientists aim to isolate these compounds and study their effects individually. “It’s not just about THC or the recently highly discussed CBD. In marijuana, we can identify over 120 cannabinoids. However, the journey from clinical study to approved medication is very long,” says Trojan.

Our own cannabis research, greenhouse, and integration with the hospital’s Pain Treatment Center and hospital pharmacy, where the cannabis medications are produced, are truly unique. “I dare say that considering our technologies and production of medical-grade material, we are unique in this,” believes Trojan. The entire treatment cycle indeed takes place under one roof – from initial plant research, breeding, and cultivation, through the production of cannabis capsules, to prescribing cannabis medications to patients.

And even these cannabis capsules represent another first for the Brno hospital. “For the first time in our history, we have introduced the use of cannabis plant in capsules, which we prepare directly in our pharmacy,” adds the head of the hospital pharmacy, Martin Šimíček.

Just last year, nearly 500 patients with chronic pain came to St. Anne’s for cannabis medications. The hospital pharmacy thus prepares hundreds of doses of medical cannabis monthly. “The largest percentage consists of people with back pain, osteoarthritis, or rheumatism,” describes Radovan Hřib, head of the Pain Treatment Center. “Regarding cannabis treatment, there are still many questions we are seeking answers to. There are so many yet unexplored areas. However, we already know that the safety risks of cannabis medications are minimal to none.” Within the St. Anne’s Hospital, doctors use cannabis medications for pain treatment, but in the future, researchers from the International Clinical Research Center would like to explore the use of medical cannabis in the field of neurology or dermatology.

More detailed and comprehensive information on medical cannabis research and its use in hospital practice, scientific discussions on the effects of CBD and THC, as well as the ban on HHC in the Czech Republic will be offered at the Cannabis and Science international conference. It will take place on April 24th from 9 am at the Brno Observatory on Kraví hora. More information and registration can be found on the event’s website.