Updated on December 20, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Compared to other countries with medical marijuana programs, Belgium stands out. Instead of incorporating medical cannabis into the country’s healthcare system, legislators have integrated licensed cannabis-based medicines into the field of healthcare. As a patient or caregiver, it’s essential to understand this program before meeting with your physician.
Belgium does not offer medical marijuana cards. Its cannabis-based medications, such as Sativex, are treated like other high-level prescription medications. Because of the quick incorporation of these medicines into the Belgium health system, there isn’t a need for a medical cannabis card.
In other countries, medical marijuana cards offer several benefits. One of the most noted benefits is that they identify patients to law enforcement, which prevents the unnecessary confiscation of your medicine and potential fines.
Because medical marijuana cards are not a part of Belgium’s medical cannabis program, you do not have to worry about applying for one with the government. Instead, focus on finding a specialist for your condition who is knowledgeable about cannabis-based prescription drugs.
Some patients, however, do opt to use medical marijuana. In Belgium, medical weed is decriminalized. Under personal use laws, you may carry up to three grams and cultivate a single marijuana plant — its THC content cannot exceed 0.2 percent, though.
Another option available for medical weed is becoming a member of a cannabis club. While the sale of marijuana is illegal in Belgium, cannabis clubs operate as non-profit organizations that provide medical pot through club membership fees. As a result, they occupy a legal gray area.
Although you won’t have a marijuana card to recertify in Belgium, you will need to renew your prescription. Medicines with a synthetic or natural cannabis-base, like Cesamet, Marinol or Sativex, are often prescribed for one use with zero refills. As a result, you’ll need to meet with your physician often throughout the year.
If you’re receiving your medical cannabis through a cannabis club, you’ll have to ensure your membership remains in good standing by paying your dues each month and following the club’s rules. Clubs often meet every two to three months, though some will gather every six weeks to provide you with your medical marijuana.
It’s essential to note, cannabis clubs in Belgium do not accept minors or guardians who are joining on behalf of a child. Some even limit their membership to people 21 years or older, though others allow those who are 18 and older to join.
Physicians in Belgium do not have to undergo a certification process to prescribe cannabis-based medicine. When it comes to medical marijuana, the country’s medical cannabis laws prevent doctors from recommending it, even if it may help a patient more than a prescription drug like Cesamet.
It’s essential, however, to ensure your specialist understands the side effects, benefits and uses of medications with synthetic or natural THC, including how they will interact with your existing treatment plan. If your specialist is unfamiliar with these medicines, consider asking for a referral.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we’re devoted to delivering accurate, up-to-date information on medical marijuana in Belgium and around the world. Through our comprehensive resources, blog and directory for licensed medical cannabis doctors and dispensaries, we help patients and their families learn more about medical weed.
To find out more about medical cannabis in Belgium, consider contacting a medical marijuana official in the country.