Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Unlike countries like Israel and U.S. states where medical marijuana is legal, Chile doesn’t offer a medical marijuana program for patients to join. Instead, they let doctors prescribe cannabis medicine to patients they think could benefit from it.
Chile doesn’t allow recreational marijuana use. While marijuana is now a “soft drug” and has fewer penalties than before, you can still get in trouble for using it without a prescription. So, if you want to take marijuana medicine legally and safely, you must go through your doctor.
Medical marijuana patients previously had an incredibly difficult time getting their medication and faced serious punishment from authorities. But, since the president legalized medical marijuana in 2015, patients can medicate without worry and get their medicine from legitimate sources.
To get a medical marijuana prescription, talk with your doctor about your symptoms. They may or may not agree to write a prescription for you, depending on their opinion of medical cannabis and your health issues.
Patients with more commonly treated conditions may have a better chance of getting a prescription than those who don’t. Some symptoms and disorders have more evidence that shows they can be treated with medical marijuana. These health issues include pain, seizures and nausea, especially when they come from chronic conditions like cancer.
If your doctor refuses to provide medical marijuana treatment and you think you should qualify, you can always visit another physician for a second opinion. Chile currently has a telemedicine project underway, so if you live in a rural area, you may have access to telemedicine services to see another physician.
In Chile, you don’t have to renew a medical marijuana program registration — just have your doctor write you prescriptions on an ongoing basis. Keeping up with your medical cannabis treatment plan involves developing good patient habits. By following these habits, you’ll benefit from an effective treatment.
Primarily, you should see your doctor regularly, so you can report any changes or problems. Tell them about any issues that come up, even if they seem minor to you — good documentation lets you and your doctor track your health. Plus, you can get a dosage change as soon as possible if you need it.
If you need to switch providers, make sure to check that the doctor you’re considering is willing to prescribe medicinal cannabis. If you do switch, ask your old physician to send your records over to your new one.
Any doctor who can prescribe medicine can prescribe medical marijuana in Chile. So, the best doctor to work with will depend on their specialization and what you have access to.
If you live in a more remote area, you may want to work with a general practitioner, especially if you already see one you trust. Patients who don’t need specialized care have more leeway than those who do.
On the other hand, if you think you’d benefit from seeing a specialist, find one who works with medical marijuana. They may know how medical cannabis affects your condition more than a general practitioner, but they may also cost more to see.
To get more information on medical marijuana policies and programs in Chile, you need to get in touch with the right government official. Chile’s Department of Health can answer your questions about cannabis medicine. For updates on legislation in Chile, you can also check our blog for the latest developments.