Bedrocan product information guide

Bedrocan is one of the largest and most well established players in the global medical marijuana industry. The Dutch company has been producing cannabis for more than two decades and its products are exported throughout Europe, Brazil and, more recently, Australia and New Zealand.

Bedrocan has only very recently become available in Aotearoa – so recently, in fact, that as of 21 February 2017 there were no known legal users of Bedrocan products in New Zealand, according to a press release from Associate Minister of Health Peter Dunne. However, with Mr Dunne including Bedrocan in a list of recommended cannabis-based products issued to physicians and health specialists around the country, it seems likely that at least some Kiwi patients will start using Bedrocan products in the months ahead.

Bedrocan’s extensive experience with cannabis, combined with its strict manufacturing processes, means that its products are some of the safest and most effective options on the market. However, as with any type of medicine, there are still some risks involved that doctors and patients need to be aware of before consuming any Bedrocan products.

Because the company has only been operating in Australasia market for a matter of months, there’s very little information regarding Bedrocan in the New Zealand context. We want to change that. On this page you’re going to find all the information you might need as a patient to make an informed decision about whether Bedrocan products are the right choice for you. Please note that we are not doctors and the following information should not be considered professional medical advice.

What is Bedrocan?

As touched on, Bedrocan is a medicinal cannabis company with production facilities in the Netherlands, Canada and the Czech Republic. It is the first medical marijuana company in the world to be compliant with the European Medicines Agency’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.

“This is a significant recognition,” commented Bedrocan International Chairman Tjalling Erkelens in a Bedrocan press release.

“We have always aimed to meet the highest pharmaceutical standards. Now our way of working is officially recognised by the authorities.”

Essentially, this accreditation means that Bedrocan’s products are made to an extremely high level of quality and standardisation, which provides certainty for patients and healthcare professionals alike.

Bedrocan isn’t the only medical cannabis company to have attained GMP certification, but it is unique in that it is the only organisation that is able to produce cannabis flos (the whole, dried flower) with consistent concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes. As such, Bedrocan products are as close as you can get (for now, at least) to legal, raw cannabis leaf in New Zealand.

Which Bedrocan products are available in New Zealand?

Although there are currently no patients using Bedrocan medicine in New Zealand, we understand that there are five types of products available to Kiwi patients. These include:

  1. Bedrocan
  • Sativa flos
  • Comprised of 22% THC and less than 1% CBD

First created back in 2003, Bedrocan is a sativa-heavy strain and is the most commonly used medical cannabis product offered by the Dutch Ministry. A recent study of Dutch patients showed that Bedrocan was the most popular Bedrocan product for almost all ailments, including pain, insomnia, nerve pain, stress, spasms and depression.

  1. Bedrobinol
  • Sativa flos
  • Comprised of 13.5% THC and less than 1% CBD

Introduced in 2005, Bedrobinol is another sativa-dominant strain, though its relatively low THC content means that its psychoactive effects are typically mild. Bedrobinol is most commonly used for stress.

  1. Bediol
  • Sativa granulate
  • Comprised of 6.3% THC and 8% CBD

Bediol was Bedrocan’s first foray into CBD-dominant cannabis strains. Released in 2007 and specifically bred to meet the needs of patients, it is commonly used by people who are new to medical cannabis. Bediol is the second most popular Bedrocan product and is most commonly used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS), nerve pain, spasms, insomnia and pain.

  1. Bedica
  • Indica granulate
  • Comprised of 14% THC and less than 1% CBD

Until Bedica was introduced in 2011, Bedrocan’s line up of cannabis products was entirely sativa based. One of the key differences between indica and sativa is the composition of terpenes; Bedica contains a high concentration of myrcene, a terpene renowned for its calming effects. It is most commonly used for depression.

  1. Bedrolite
  • Sativa granulate
  • Comprised of less than 1% THC and 9% CBD

The most recent addition to Bedrocan’s product line, Bedrolite hit the market in 2014. Thanks to its very low THC content, Bedrolite does not have psychoactive properties and has become the number one choice for many patients with severe and untreatable forms of epilepsy.

If you live with any of the aforementioned health conditions – pain, insomnia, nerve pain, stress, spasms, MS or depression – and have found conventional treatment methods to be ineffective, there’s a chance that one of Bedrocan’s products could be right for you. However, as we touched on earlier, there’s no record of New Zealand patients using Bedrocan medicines, so it’s difficult to comment on prescription eligibility or how willing doctors are going to be to prescribe Bedrocan products.

How can I get Bedrocan products in NZ and how much do they cost?

It’s theoretically possible to import Bedrocan products into New Zealand, even if nobody has done it yet (you could be the first!). A Bedrocan representative suggested that the process might involve:

  1. Talk to your doctor, who will determine if Bedrocan products are suitable for you.
  2. Obtain approval from the Ministry of Health.
  3. A pharmacist receives and dispenses the cannabis, which is imported from the Netherlands.
  4. You collect your prescription from the pharmacy.

Do note that this process is probably going to change in the near future when Bedrocan Australia becomes the distributor for the Australasian region.

Bedrocan products costs about $11 per gram, excluding import license and freight. At the time of writing, very few people have actually followed through with this process, so it remains to be seen how much the products will cost when licenses and freight are included.

What’s the optimum dose size for Bedrocan products?

As with just about every type of medicine in existence, optimum dosage of Bedrocan products varies between patients depending on health condition, severity of symptoms and a bunch of other factors. There may be a bit of a teething period lasting one or two weeks as you and your doctor work out a unique dose schedule and volume that suit your specific needs.

During this time, you may encounter some unpleasant side effects as a result of taking too much cannabis. You can avoid most of these effects by:

  • Starting with a small dose: take a few small doses throughout the day rather than trying to reach the desired effects in a large, single dose. Remember, you can always have more, but it’s impossible to have less once you’ve consumed it.
  • Being patient: even if you have some experience with medical or recreational cannabis, it’s a good idea to be cautious when using any new medicinal product. Wait to feel the full effects before having more and stick with the same low dose for a few days until you become more familiar with the product.
  • Gradually increasing the dose: if you require further alleviation, you may wish to up your dose. Increase your dose in small increments every few days while monitoring your progress and recording any unwanted side effects that may occur.

What’s the best way to take Bedrocan products?

Many of Bedrocan’s products come in flos or granulate form, which means it is possible to smoke them via regular combustible methods such as a joint, blunt, water pipe and so on. However, these modes of administration do pose some potential health risks and should really only be used by patients as a last resort.

A survey of Bedrocan patients found that there were four common consumption methods of medical cannabis flos and granulate:

  1. Vaporizer
  • Administration: inhalation
  • Onset: 2-10 minutes
  • Duration: 2-4 hours

Efficient and discreet, vaporizers are an incredibly effective tool for all medical cannabis patients. Vaporizers work by heating the plant matter to just below the point of combustion, turning the terpenes and cannabinoids found in cannabis into vapor without releasing harmful byproducts. Bedrocan is working with various companies to develop state of the art vaporizers, including miniVAP, Syqe Inhaler and Bedromedic, but just about any reputable vaporizer model will provide you with an effective means of consuming your cannabis.

  1. Tea
  • Administration: oral
  • Onset: 20-45 minutes
  • Duration: 2-6 hours

Cannabis tea can be made with cannabis butter or by simply inserting the plant matter into an emptied tea bag. The effects are typically milder than other modes of application because the concentration of cannabinoids in tea is relatively low, according to the Dutch Association for Legal Cannabis and its Constituents as Medicine. Despite this, the long duration of the effects of cannabis tea makes it a great option for patients who require ongoing relief.

  1. Edibles 
  • Administration: oral
  • Onset: 20-45 minutes
  • Duration: 2-6 hours

Creating edibles using cannabis butter is another popular method of consumption. However, the large margin of error associated with cooking means that it’s difficult to accurately standardise doses, and one edible may be substantially more potent than another. If you really want to use edibles as your mode of delivery, be very careful to weigh ingredients carefully, use scales and do your best to develop a systematic method of preparation and cooking.

  1. Smoking
  • Administration: inhalation
  • Onset: 3-11 minutes
  • Duration: 2-5 hours

Smoking is by far the most popular mode of administration, but it probably isn’t your best option for medical cannabis. While the effects of smoking cannabis on the respiratory system are still not yet fully understood, research suggests that inhalation of any combusted material may have a negative impact on your body.

Do Bedrocan products have any side effects?

Cannabis in general is a relatively benign substance and Bedrocan’s cannabis is some of the safest and most highly regulated on the planet. Nevertheless, as with any type of medicine, Bedrocan products do carry some potential side effects that may influence your decision to use medicinal cannabis.

Possible side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Euphoria
  • Reduced alertness
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Bloodshot eyes

There are some things you can do to prevent or at the very least reduce most of the side effects associated with Bedrocan products. Abiding by recommended dose schedules (see above: ‘What’s the optimum dose size for Bedrocan products?’), and taking your medicine in a safe environment and under the guidance of a trusted family member or friend can go a long way to eliminating many of the unwanted side effects of medical cannabis.

Who shouldn’t use Bedrocan products?

Beyond the above side effects, all of which are typically short-lived, there are some more serious risks factors to consider before you start using Bedrocan products. These risk factors might affect you if you have:

  • Psychosis: it’s uncommon, but cannabis may induce psychosis in people who are genetically susceptible.
  • Heart disease: cannabis can have a notable impact on your blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Pregnancy: using any cannabis product can impact the development of the fetus. In addition, some elements of cannabis can be transferred via breast milk.
  • Liver disease: cannabinoids are mostly processed in the liver. Patients with liver disease might experience different effects when using medical cannabis.
  • Addiction: the addiction potential for medicinal cannabis is fairly low, but those with history of substance use and/or abuse should remain vigilant and be conscious of their relationship with the medicine.

We look forward to seeing the positive impact Bedrocan products have on New Zealand patients.