Updated on December 21, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
In 2017, Brazil joined many other countries throughout the world by legalizing Sativex, a cannabis-based medicine that GW Pharmaceuticals markets as Mevatyl in Brazil. Since Mevatyl is exclusive to multiple sclerosis (MS) treatments, Brazil’s medical marijuana program also allows approved patients to import other select cannabis-based medicines.
Because Brazil features a dual approach to medical cannabis, there are two facets of its medical marijuana program: Mevatyl and other cannabis-based medicines. Compared to other cannabis-based medications, like HempBlend, Mevatyl is incorporated more into the country’s health system.
If you’re prescribed Mevatyl, for instance, you may fill it at your local pharmacy, whereas if you want a different cannabis-based medicine, such as Charlotte’s Web HempExtract, you must submit an application with the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA).
Like many other countries in South America, Brazil features a rich history with marijuana. Historians believe cannabis first arrived during the 1800s through the Portuguese with the intention of producing hemp fiber, which is an ideal material for textiles.
By the 1830s, however, local governments had banned the use and importation of cannabis into their cities. Fast-forward to modern day, and the cultivation, possession, sale and use of marijuana are all illegal in Brazil — though the government did decriminalize the personal use, cultivation and possession of cannabis in 2006.
More than 10 years after decriminalizing marijuana, Brazil legalized the use of Mevatyl in 2017.
In Brazil, it is illegal to possess and cultivate medical marijuana — the country only permits cannabis-based medicines, not the flower or bud. If you commit either offense, you’ll receive a warning. The courts also require you complete some community service and an educational class on the effects of drug use.
Brazil established its telehealth system in 2006. In the years since, the Brazilian National Telehealth Network Program and the Telemedicine University Network (RUTE) have seen substantial success, providing patients in remote areas access to knowledgeable physicians, from ophthalmologists to radiologists.
Due to Brazil’s approach to its medical marijuana program, patients with a range of conditions can qualify for cannabis-based medicines. In many cases, however, they will need to apply through ANVISA, as Mevatyl only treats MS, and not other diseases that are eligible for medical cannabis, such as cancer, chronic pain or epilepsy.
Not all patients require a medical marijuana card in Brazil. If you carry a prescription for Mevatyl, for instance, you do not need one — exemplifying how Brazil has incorporated this medicine into its healthcare. If you’re importing your medication through ANVISA, however, you will need a prescription, as well as proof of exceptional authorization by ANVISA.
Some facts about medical marijuana in Brazil, as well as the country’s telemedicine program, include:
As well as requiring community service and educational classes, there are additional penalties for violating medical marijuana laws in Brazil. Your prescription and exceptional authorization, for example, may be revoked if you import a cannabis-based medicine with more than 30 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) per millimeter.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we’re passionate about providing people with the latest information on medical marijuana laws, programs, application processes and more. Through our resource library, as well as our blog, you can access up-to-the-minute information on this natural medicine. Find out more about Brazil’s medical marijuana program by exploring our international patient resources today!