Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
With the legalization of medical marijuana in 2017, Brazil provided many patients the opportunity to treat their symptoms and conditions with cannabis-based medicines, like Sativex. If you or a loved one are considering medical cannabis, it’s essential to learn if you qualify and understand the process for applying.
Many patients throughout Brazil appreciate that the country doesn’t limit its medical marijuana program to a specific set of qualifying conditions. Instead, legislators offer you and your physician the freedom to determine whether a cannabis-based medicine is ideal for you.
By only legalizing cannabis-based medicines, however, the country favors certain conditions over others. Sativex, for instance, is the only cannabis-based medicine available at pharmacies in Brazil — it often treats multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms. Thus, patients with other conditions need to apply to import their medication.
Brazil offers a seamless process for becoming a medical marijuana patient, especially if you’re planning to use Sativex, which GW Pharmaceuticals labels as Mevatyl in Brazil. All you’ll need to do is make an appointment with your physician, discuss Mevatyl as a treatment option and then receive a prescription, which a local pharmacy will fill for you.
If you and your physician decide another cannabis-based medicine could be better for your condition, the process is different — you’ll be importing your medication, versus visiting your pharmacy. Because of this new approach, you must apply with the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA).
Application requirements include:
If approved, ANVISA will issue an exceptional authorization that’s valid for one year. ANVISA tends to process applications fast, which provides you and your physician with a quick answer and the ability to begin ordering your medicine without delay.
Depending on your cannabis-based medicine choice, you may access your medical marijuana in different ways. If you’re beginning Sativex, just visit your local pharmacy. The staff will fulfill your order and provide you with an Informed Consent Form to sign.
For ANVISA patients, the process is different. Following your application’s approval by ANVISA, you’ll begin the process of importing your cannabis-based medicine, which your physician will have specified in the report they submitted with your application.
It’s critical to note that Brazil only imports the following cannabis-based medicines:
After your cannabis-based medicine arrives, you’ll need to visit the ANVISA station at the airport that’s handling your medication, which you will know in advance. When you go to the ANVISA station, make sure you have a copy of your prescription. Once you’ve picked up your medicine, you’re ready to head home.
Brazil protects its patients through several measures. The main way is by only allowing cannabis-based medicines, which undergo extensive testing, to ensure patients receive medication that’s safe and potent. Plus, Brazil allows minors and those over 18 years of age to access this medicine.
Another protection for patients, which many countries do not provide, is coverage for cannabis-based medicines. Through the country’s national healthcare system, all costs associated with your treatment are covered, whether you use Sativex or another cannabis-based medicine.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we’re passionate about providing patients and caregivers throughout the world with accurate, up-to-date information on medical cannabis. Throughout our resource library and blog, we offer a valuable resource for learning about medical marijuana in Brazil and beyond.
Find out more about accessing medical cannabis in Brazil by checking out our database for international patients!