As the world tunes in for the final matches this week of the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship (or UEFA Euro 2024), most viewers may be unaware of the enormous cultural achievement that occurred during the tournament. This year, for the first time ever, fans of the game are not facing a cannabis ban. 

How Is Germany's Cannabis Legalization Affecting Consumers, From Sports Fans To Athletes?

Germany, which was selected as the host country for UEFA Euro 2024, officially announced the passage of a new cannabis law in April, laying the foundation for a more regulated framework that permits wider medical access, personal possession, and home cultivation of the plant. Consumers may also become members of nonprofit “social clubs” that allow space for consumption; some of these venues began accepting members on July 1st. At one point, the nation’s excitement over the new availability of the plant reached such a pitch that British tabloid The Sun reported that German police spokesman Stephan Knipp said it was “no problem for [sports] fans to smoke cannabis on the street” and that, compared to the aggressive behaviors that drinking alcohol might provoke, “smoking cannabis puts people in a chill mood.” 

Physiotherapist and athlete Jürgen Fruth is a medical cannabis patient in Germany. Courtesy of Grünhorn.

How Is Germany's Medical Cannabis Industry Helping Patients? Jürgen Fruth Shares His Return To Fitness

While the police department for the city of Gelsenkirchen has declared the Sun’s report false, German patients can attest that it is becoming easier for them to experience the health benefits of the plant than ever before. Jürgen Fruth, a physiotherapist and athlete, has used cannabis for the past decade as a way to relax. But through his more recent experiences with the plant, he’s noticed how it alleviates back pain and other symptoms he struggles with from Scheuermann’s Disease, a spinal condition where the vertebrae grow unevenly and can cause significant painful curvature. A number of notable professional athletes have been diagnosed with Scheuermann’s Disease, which often begins in childhood: NHL player Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins and MLB player Hunter Pence of the San Francisco Giants are among those living with the condition. 

But for Fruth, Germany’s advancements in medical cannabis are creating an environment where he can motivate himself and live more fully than ever before. “For the past year, I have been a medical cannabis patient, and have been able to experience and explore the benefits of the plant more intensely,” he says. “Since October 2023, I have found a strain that quickly relieves my pain, enhances my focus, and motivates me to engage in sports… Since then, I have been exercising daily, made some changes to my diet, and have lost 60 lbs. For my back issues, the lighter weight and improved mobility are naturally very beneficial. My quality of life has improved significantly as a result.”

Fruth quotes Damian Marley’s song “Medication”: “Medication, your medication makes me high / Just be patient, I'm like a patient trying to find / Levitation, run your fingers down my spine / Elevation, your medication makes me high, yeah.” 

*Editor's Note: Check out our interview with Damian Marley from the cover of our FREEDOM issue by clicking here.

Dr. Nadine Herwig, head of Grünhorn Academy (C) Grünhorn

How Did Grünhorn, Germany's Largest Medical Cannabis Network, Provide Wellness Solutions For Jürgen Fruth?

Able to hone in on self-improvement, the fitness enthusiast built his own home gym and prominently reduced his use of painkillers in favor of more integrated cannabis treatments. Most helpful of all, he began working with Grünhorn, Germany’s largest cannabis network, which dispenses medical products to patients through online pharmacies, as well as providing high-quality cannabis and CBD research and a multipurpose educational platform, the Grünhorn Academy. 

Biochemist Dr. Nadine Herwig, head of Grünhorn Academy, explains that she first connected to Fruth because he was a customer of the Grünhorn pharmacy. “Due to his pain, he had numerous complaints and limitations and was no longer able to [play sports], among other things,” she states. “Thanks to his cannabis therapy, he has regained a better quality of life and can now do weight training again under medical supervision thanks to the use of medicinal cannabis. The Grünhorn Academy can provide both the patient and their treating physician with indirect advice through expert information and support in the development of therapies, for example in the selection of strains according to cannabinoid and terpene profile based on own terpene research and studies.”

Fruth smokes cannabis. Courtesy of Grünhorn.

Patient And Doctor Perspectives On Germany's Cannabis Industry: Jürgen Fruth And Grünhorn's Dr. Nadine Herwig Talk Hope, Health Benefits, And New Technology

Both Herwig and Fruth shared their insights with Honeysuckle about how Grünhorn is developing helpful services to customize the patient experience with cannabis, and how Germany’s burgeoning cannabis industry is contributing to patients’ new leases on active lifestyles. 

HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: Dr. Herwig, what is the current mission of Grünhorn Academy, and how does that work help athletes maximize the health benefits of cannabis?

DR. NADINE HERWIG: The Grünhorn Academy is first and foremost an educational and training platform for all aspects of the potential of cannabis. The focus is primarily on the possible use of cannabis to alleviate a wide range of symptoms and illnesses, but also on the general benefits of cannabinoids. Just 100 years ago, cannabis was almost part of the average medicine cabinet and was used for numerous ailments such as pain. It was only with the International Opium Convention in the late 1920s that many countries implemented a cannabis ban, which [was finally] lifted in Germany this April and is being relaxed in many other countries as well. 

The therapeutic benefits themselves have not changed in recent decades - only society's view. Due to its classification as a narcotic and its stigmatization, both patients and recreational users experience a prejudice that wrongly places them in the corner of drug addicts. However, medicinal cannabis is not only helpful for seriously ill patients, but also for recreational or wellness purposes, for example for athletes. Cannabis can help them with motivation, anxiety and stress management as well as regeneration and with sports injuries such as muscle strains. 

For this reason, the Grünhorn Academy would also like to process the existing knowledge from studies and other investigations in this area to identify new areas of application. The possible effect of cannabis on everyone is very different and depends not least on the physical and mental conditions of everyone. With the Grünhorn Academy, we want to provide information in the form of podcasts, articles and interviews so that everyone can draw the right conclusions for themselves.

Grünhorn offers a service called the digital flower finder to help consumers select cannabis from hundreds of strains. How does this work?

HERWIG: You can choose from 200 to 300 cannabis flowers for a treatment. The first digital flower finder supports them in this. To make it as easy as possible for them, they can now choose from five categories on the Grünhorn pharmacy website, based on our own terpene studies and scientific knowledge about available cannabis strains on the market: focusing, energizing, sedating, relaxing and inspiring. The next step is to select the desired THC and CBD content of the flower. A higher THC content is desirable in pain treatment, for example, while a high CBD content is desirable for inflammatory diseases such as autoimmune disorders. As a result, up to five suitable cannabis varieties are suggested that can be prescribed as part of a therapy. This enables Grünhorn to provide faster and more targeted treatment.

Fruth has a new focus on fitness thanks to medical cannabis. Courtesy of Grünhorn.

Mr. Fruth, what possibilities for cannabis treatment and consumption would you like to see opened up to your fellow professional athletes?

JÜRGEN FRUTH: Cannabis can be a potentially effective option for professional athletes due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, to treat muscle soreness, injuries, and inflammation. In addition, cannabis can also contribute to relaxation and stress reduction, which can be beneficial for athletes under pressure.

If cannabis were not on the anti-doping list, a possible intake option for professional athletes could be cannabis products such as oils, capsules, or creams. However, the exact dosage and application method should be discussed individually with a doctor or a medical cannabis professional to achieve the best possible results.

What makes Grünhorn’s offerings stand out for the developing German consumer market?

HERWIG: Since most of the market players are bringing cannabis to Germany without analyzing the customers’ needs, Grünhorn has decided to start developing products of their own with the knowledge that they have gained through terpene analysis. By discovering which terpene and cannabinoid profiles provide the most effective treatment, Grünhorn can work with growers to develop strains that are more suitable for specific use. 

And as Germany’s largest cannabis pharmacy, would you say there’s some first-mover advantage to what you’re able to achieve?

HERWIG: Grünhorn anticipated an increased demand for cannabis ahead of legalization, which has indeed materialized—faster and stronger than we and other cannabis companies could have imagined. This surge is largely due to the fact that cultivation associations are not yet operational and home cultivation requires time and expertise. Currently, the only legal source in Germany is the cannabis pharmacy.

The order volume doubled within a week after legalization. As the only cannabis pharmacy, we have prepared with machine filling and partial automation, including in our warehouse. We have hired new employees and continuously optimize our operations and online services to meet the growing demand.

Mr. Fruth, what is your hope for the future of Germany’s consumer market?

FRUTH: [I hope] for cannabis stores where you can buy cannabis products uncomplicatedly and with good advice, discreetly and without club membership. Everything from flowers, rosin, edibles should be available. Of course, also under certain quality requirements to protect the health of consumers. 

I also think that the limit of 3 plants per person [for home cultivation] is too low, because without a limit, one could grow their annual supply at home in the garden... simply, organically, and with minimal CO2 emissions. Well, we will see, but in general, now in Germany, things are definitely better than they were before.

For more about Grünhorn, visit

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Featured image: Physiotherapist and athlete Jürgen Fruth is a medical cannabis patient working with Germany's largest dispensing pharmacy network. Courtesy of Grünhorn.