Updated on December 28, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Belgium’s approach to medical marijuana stands out from other countries. It permits the prescription of medicines with cannabis as an active ingredient, like Sativex, instead of the recommendation of medical marijuana in its dried form. Whether you or a loved one are considering medical cannabis, it’s essential to understand the country’s program, laws and more.
The program Belgium has established differs from other countries. While it does include a recommended list of qualifying conditions, it doesn’t feature a medical marijuana card or require physicians to receive additional certification. The reason for this approach is because Belgium only allows the prescription of licensed medications.
Due to the decriminalization of marijuana, cannabis clubs have become a resource for patients and their families, except minors. While the operations of cannabis clubs occupy a legal gray area, they often go unmonitored by government officials, as they are neither selling nor transporting marijuana, which are both illegal.
During its early history, Belgium’s agriculture featured a substantial amount of hemp, which was used for its fibers. Throughout the 1900s, hemp was phased out as the country began to take a different approach to marijuana.
Legislation for recreational and medical marijuana became a focus during the 21st century. In 2003, legislators decriminalized the personal possession and cultivation of cannabis. More than 10 years after the decriminalization of marijuana, Belgium introduced its medical cannabis program, which permitted physicians to prescribe medicines with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Belgium’s medical marijuana laws permit residents to possess and cultivate marijuana. The government has set limits, however. You may only carry three grams of either recreational or medicinal weed, and you may only grow a single marijuana plant with a THC content of less than 0.2 percent.
While Belgium does not have a nationwide telemedicine program, it does encourage telehealth at a local level. The country’s telehealth efforts receive public and private funding, as well as support through partnerships. Health professionals and medical students are also receiving telehealth training.
Eligible conditions for medical marijuana in Belgium depend on cannabis-based medication. Sativex, for instance, is approved for treating multiple sclerosis (MS), while Cesamet and Marinol are approved for cancer, AIDS and MS. It should be noted that Cesamet and Marinol use a synthetic substance rather than natural THC.
Belgium’s medical cannabis program does not require medical marijuana cards. Since the country only permits physicians to prescribe licensed cannabis-based medications, a card is not necessary to validate the possession of your medicine.
Some facts about medical marijuana in Belgium include:
Choosing to use fresh or dried medical cannabis can result in government action. In addition, exceeding the three-gram limit, using medical weed in public and cultivating marijuana plants with a THC content higher than 0.2 percent can all lead to fines and even prison time.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we provide patients and their families with the latest information on medical marijuana in Belgium and across the world. With our resources, as well as our directory of licensed and compassionate physicians, we can help you ease you or your loved one’s symptoms.
Find out more about the evolving medical marijuana laws, research and use in Belgium by visiting our blog!