Updated on December 28, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
While Colombia’s medical marijuana program focuses on licensing cultivators and distributors to ensure patients and researchers receive high-quality medical cannabis, it also sets standards for patients. Understanding these requirements is essential if you’re considering joining the country’s program.
Colombia doesn’t require patients to obtain a medical marijuana card. Instead, physicians provide a prescription for medical cannabis, which you then have filled at a licensed pharmacy. This decision by the Colombian government emphasizes and recognizes the role of marijuana as a true medicine.
Other countries that require medical marijuana cards, in addition to many states throughout the U.S., often have them due to the conflict between federal and state laws and their classification of cannabis. As acceptance of medical weed grows, it’s possible countries will phase out these cards and instead treat medical marijuana as a traditional medication.
Since medical marijuana cards are absent from the Colombian medical cannabis program, you don’t have to apply for a card. Instead, focus on finding a licensed physician who’s kunowledgeable about medical marijuana. Having an educated medical cannabis doctor is an immense benefit.
With your physician, you can get answers to all your questions and build a treatment plan that incorporates medical weed. Medical marijuana physicians can also provide advice on dosage amounts, administration techniques and strains that may benefit your condition.
If you’re planning to cultivate your medical weed instead of purchasing it from a pharmacy, you may grow up to 20 plants in your home. You don’t need a license from the National Council of Narcotics (CNE) or the Ministry of Health and Social Protection to grow medical marijuana for personal use.
Since Colombia’s medical marijuana program doesn’t include medical marijuana cards, you don’t need to go through the process of recertifying your card.
The only parties who need to recertify their licenses are cultivators, distributors and manufacturers that are producing, selling or exporting medical cannabis on a commercial scale — they must renew their licenses every five years. The CNE and Ministry of Health and Social Protection, however, can revoke these permits if companies fail inspections or violate the standards of Colombia’s medical marijuana program.
Colombia doesn’t require physicians to become licensed medical marijuana doctors, as some other countries do. While this step makes it easier for patients to see a physician close to home, it does risk patients seeing doctors who are unfamiliar with medical cannabis or when a prescription is appropriate.
Since medical marijuana is indeed a medicine, it’s essential to see a practitioner who has taken the time to educate themselves about its uses, side effects, benefits, dosages and more. Doing so ensures you’re managing your condition with a knowledgeable doctor who can answer your questions and concerns.
With time, Colombia may evolve their medical marijuana program and require physicians to undergo training and additional licensing in order to prescribe medical cannabis to patients. Making this change to their existing program would benefit patients and further integrate medical marijuana into the medical field.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we provide families and their loved ones with vital information and essential resources to help them learn about medical cannabis. If you’re interested in finding out more about the medical marijuana program and laws in Colombia, contact a local Colombian medical marijuana official or browse our blog.