The Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research (ISGF) and Sanity Group have now received the final approval from the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) to conduct a cannabis pilot study in Basel-Landschaft (Baselland), following approval from the Ethics Committee Northwest and Central Switzerland (EKNZ) last year. It is the sixth approved pilot project with cannabis in Switzerland that has now been given the green light. The study, led by Prof. Dr. Michael Schaub, Scientific Director of the ISGF, will examine the regulated sale of cannabis for non-medical purposes.
Gaining insights into the use of cannabis
For this purpose, the study will record the consumption behavior as well as the physical and mental health of the participants. The societal effects of consumption, especially on public safety and order will be analyzed through a close exchange and integration of relevant focus groups such as the public prosecutor’s office.
“The insights gained from the study can contribute to an informed health policy discussion on the responsible use of cannabis and serve as a basis for decisions on long-term regulation,” says Prof. Dr. Schaub. “In addition, we want to investigate whether we can gain better access to high-risk users with, for example, mental health problems, in order to refer them to appropriate cantonal care centers.”
“Results of international interest”
“We are pleased about the approval for the study in Baselland and the opportunity to make our contribution to social acceptance and knowledge transfer around the cannabis plant and its versatile uses. Our ambition to support the ISGF pilot project with our knowledge and experience as an internationally positioned cannabis company is primarily based on the promotion of research in the field of cannabis. Since the company was founded, our goal has been to further research the benefits of cannabis and destigmatize the plant. Together with the ISGF, we are developing concepts for safe sales based on health protection, youth protection and prevention. We expect interesting findings from the study – the results will be of international interest,” adds Finn Hänsel, CEO of Sanity Group.
In recent months, the company has been working intensively with regional and national authorities to get this ambitious project off the ground, adds Leonhard Friedrich, project manager at Sanity Group.
Nearly 4,000 study participants possible
Up to 3,950 healthy adults living in the canton of Basel-Landschaft will be able to participate in the study in the future. “After an initial information event to educate about the trial and how to deal with cannabis, a medical aptitude test of the potential participant:s will follow, as well as an online entry survey. If successfully accepted into the study, cannabis can then be obtained legally at the point of sale for a limited time in the future with a participation card. Continuous surveys on consumption behavior and the physical and mental health of the participants will take place every three to six months,” explains Michael Schaub. The study is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023 and will run for five years. Interested parties can obtain further information on participation in the study online at www.grashausprojects.ch and at www.isgf.ch/pilotversuch-interesse.
First dispensary to be set up in Allschwil, another location in Liestal to follow
Unlike other Swiss projects, dispensing will not take place via pharmacies or clubs, but via stores as a point of sale, initially in the municipality of Allschwil. The property earmarked for this purpose has been designed accordingly in recent weeks. This means that Europe’s first legal shop for consumer cannabis is being set up in Allschwil; another store in Liestal will follow in the upcoming months, where various cannabis products such as flowers, extracts, hashish, edibles and vape liquids will be sold, too.
Cannabis comes from local organic production
All cannabis products will be produced according to the quality requirements of the BetmPV and the organic guidelines in Switzerland by the Swiss cultivation partner SwissExtract. Prices for cannabis flowers are said to range between 8 and 12 CHF, depending on the THC content.
“Our claim is to provide high-quality products with high delivery reliability as the basis for a sound scientific study. We focus on organic quality, ‘Swissness’ and transparency,” says Stefan Strasser, CEO of SwissExtract. “As only natural substances are used in the cultivation of our basic raw material, we guarantee pollutant-free products. The entire value chain is united under one roof with us – cultivation, processing and packaging take place exclusively in Switzerland; in addition, we document the production process from the plant seed to the end product. SwissExtract is a life’s work for us, with sincerity towards people and the environment.”
More information about the project at www.grashausprojects.ch.
About Sanity Group
Sanity Group aims to improve people’s quality of life through the use of cannabinoids and the utilization of the endocannabinoid system. The focus is on cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals and consumer goods. To harness the full potential of cannabis, Sanity Group invests in research of the cannabis plant and its active ingredients as well as in specific areas of application. Sanity Group, founded in Berlin in 2018 by Finn Age Hänsel and Fabian Friede, includes Vayamed and avaay Medical (medical cannabis), Endosane Pharmaceuticals (finished pharmaceuticals), vaay (lifestyle) and Grashaus Projects (recreational cannabis Swiss pilot project). Near Frankfurt am Main, Sanity Group also operates a production facility for cannabis extracts. Sanity Group Switzerland AG is a subsidiary of Sanity Group GmbH and organizes the operational activities at the point of sale during the study in Switzerland. More information at sanitygroup.com/press.
The Swiss Institute for Addiction and Health Research (ISGF) is an associated institute of the University of Zurich and a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization WHO. The focus is both on the transfer of scientific findings into practice and on the scientific penetration of innovative practice approaches. The interdisciplinary team of addiction and health researchers regularly collaborates with renowned national and international experts. For more information, visit www.isgf.uzh.ch.
SwissExtract is a Swiss company founded in 2016 and based in Baar in the canton of Zug, which was commissioned to grow the cannabis products for the ISGF and Sanity Group model project in the canton of Basel-Landschaft. The entire process for manufacturing the products – from cultivation to labeling – takes place in Switzerland. Quality is the top priority. All SwissExtract products are subject to strict regular controls by an independent, specialized laboratory. For more information, visit www.swissextract.ch.
Header image: Sanity Group