Updated on December 28, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
While Estonia’s medical marijuana program is smaller than that of other programs in nearby countries, it still provides patients and their loved ones with the opportunity treat their chronic symptoms with a natural or cannabis-based medicine.
A growing trend among medical cannabis programs is the absence of medical marijuana cards. One reason is because more countries are legalizing medical weed nationwide — including recreational pot. While recreational marijuana is still illegal in Estonia, the country still doesn’t require patients to get medical marijuana cards.
The reason behind Estonia’s decision to exclude identification cards from its programs stems from the fact that its program is highly regulated and limits the number of patients who receive approval to use imported medical marijuana or cannabis-based medications.
Because Estonia doesn’t mandate medical marijuana cards, patients should focus on finding a physician who is supportive of medical cannabis and educated about its uses, side effects and benefits when applied as a treatment to specific conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
It’s essential to choose a qualified and compassionate doctor, as they must submit your request to use medical cannabis. In fact, physicians are responsible for writing a recommendation to the Ministry of Social Affairs, which serves as your application.
Due to the lack of promotion by Estonia for its medical cannabis program, it can be challenging to find a specialist. The application process can also take a substantial amount of time and doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved. That’s why there is an emphasis on building a compelling case with your physician beforehand.
Some countries do require you to renew your patient status, but Estonia does not. The Ministry of Social Affairs doesn’t require updated recommendations from your physicians, though the State Agency of Medicines and International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) may if you’re receiving medical cannabis rather than a cannabis-based medicine.
As Estonia’s medical marijuana laws may change, it’s essential to document your experience with medical cannabis. Note any side effects it causes, including any benefits, so if the government does require a recertification process in the future, you’ll have evidence demonstrating marijuana’s positive impact on your daily life. Meeting with your specialist throughout the year and keeping them up-to-date is also advised.
Submitting a request to the Ministry of Social Affairs, the State Agency of Medicines and the INCB doesn’t require additional licensing or a certification. Any physician may write on your behalf to these departments. However, you should ensure they’re familiar with medical marijuana.
Although it isn’t required, it’s advised to have a specialist handle your case because of their education and experience with your condition. As an example, an oncologist should submit a request on behalf of a patient with cancer, rather than their general practitioner.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we deliver up-to-date information on medical cannabis. From new and budding legislation to in-depth guides on qualifying conditions, we help you learn about using marijuana as a medicine in Estonia and beyond through our resource library and blog. We also provide a gateway for patients and licensed physicians to connect, so more and more patients can start receiving quality and compassionate care.
Learn more about Estonia’s medical cannabis laws, program and application process by contacting a government official today!