Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Through its medical marijuana program, Brazil has provided patients and physicians throughout the country with a new treatment option — which is covered by the national healthcare system — to ease chronic symptoms and qualifying conditions.
While many countries, such as the United States, require medical marijuana cards, Brazil does not. There are several reasons for this difference, including the fact that the country only permits cannabis-based medicines. Its pharmacies dispense Sativex, a cannabis-based medication for multiple sclerosis (MS).
If a patient does not need Sativex, but another cannabis-based medicine, Brazil requires exceptional authorization, which is an order issued by the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA). ANVISA allows you and your physician to import select cannabis-based medicines to treat your condition and its symptoms.
Due to the absence of a medical marijuana card in Brazil’s program for medicinal cannabis, you can avoid the application process. You will, however, need to meet with your physician and determine if Sativex is right for you. If it is, your doctor will issue a prescription, which you can drop-off at a local pharmacy.
For patients who need an exceptional authorization, prepare the following for your ANVISA application:
In your application, you will need to specify the cannabis-based medicine you intend to import. It’s vital to note that Brazil only accepts 11 types of cannabis-based medicines. However, if you’re interested in purchasing medication not permitted by Brazil, ANVISA will consider it.
If approved, ANVISA will notify you to provide you with additional information for importing and obtaining your product from ANVISA. You will, however, be responsible for ensuring your shipment adheres to the exporting countries rules and regulations.
Brazil’s medical marijuana program does not involve medical marijuana cards, but to continue receiving cannabis-based medicines, you must present a valid prescription for Sativex or the medication you’re importing via ANVISA with your exceptional authorization.
For ANVISA patients, your exceptional authorization is valid for one year. To renew it, submit the following:
If you’ve switched physicians, you’ll also need to provide a new Declaration of Responsibility and Clarification. If the information in your Product Import and Use Form has changed, you’ll also need to include an updated copy of that.
While many countries require physicians to undergo an application and certification process to prescribe or recommend medical cannabis, Brazil does not. Any licensed doctor may prescribe Sativex or another cannabis-based medicine.
Due to this feature of Brazil’s medical marijuana program, it’s essential to choose a practitioner that’s knowledgeable about cannabis-based medications, as well as their potential benefits and side effects in treating your condition.
If you feel your doctor lacks the experience to prescribe cannabis-based medications or disagrees with their use, consider finding another physician who’s open to treating patients with medical cannabis. They can ensure you receive quality care, as well as answers to all your questions.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we provide patients, caregivers and physicians across the world with valuable, up-to-date information on medical cannabis. From its legislation to its administration, we offer news that’s accurate and timely on our blog, as well as additional information in our resource library.
To learn more about medical marijuana in Brazil, contact an ANVISA official today.