Updated on December 28, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
As one of the initial countries in the European Union (EU) to legalize medical marijuana, Greece continues to adapt its laws to the needs of patients and physicians, as well as cultivators and processors interested in providing medical cannabis. Due to these evolving changes, it’s a priority to understand the country’s laws.
Greece has an extensive history of preventing medical cannabis use, which could be one reason it doesn’t plan to introduce the fresh, dried flower to patients. Instead, the Ministry of Health is focusing its efforts on providing processed medical marijuana, such as in extract or edible form.
Due to this stance, patients will not have the option of smoking or vaping medical cannabis, which are two administration forms ideal for fast-acting relief — in comparison, edibles are a slow-acting form of medical marijuana.
While adults may use medical cannabis, it is yet to be determined whether minors can access the medication.
A primary goal of Greece is to integrate medical marijuana into its existing healthcare program. So, hospitals and local pharmacies will fulfill orders for medical cannabis, rather than dispensaries. It’s also the reason behind Greece permitting prescriptions, rather than recommendations for medical marijuana.
Like many other countries, Greece requires patients to renew their prescription on a short-term basis — generally every 30 days. Legislators do not, however, mandate patient registration or application for a medical marijuana card. Instead, physicians handle most of the paperwork.
The movement by Greece to certify cultivators and processors suggests the country may legalize recreational marijuana in the future. At the time of writing, however, cannabis for recreational use remains illegal and poses prison time, as well as substantial fines for cultivation.
Abuse of medical marijuana also carries penalties. Since it’s now classified as a Table B substance, which includes opioids, medical cannabis misuse can lead to the loss of your prescription and the involvement of law enforcement. It may even cause your physician to lose their license.
For many countries, it’s difficult to develop a comprehensive medical marijuana program that meets the needs of every patient — Greece isn’t an exception to this challenge. The country’s program features several limitations, including its restriction on administration methods.
Additional drawbacks include the inability of patients to cultivate cannabis for personal use. For many, growing your own medical marijuana can reduce prescription costs, as well as ease the strain of traveling to pick up your medicine — especially since some Table B substances, like morphine, are restricted to a five-day dose per prescription.
Protecting patients and physicians is a primary goal of the Ministry of Health. So, it has prioritized the integration of medical marijuana into the country’s health system, as well as the certification of cultivators and processors to ensure quality and safety in medical cannabis products.
Before legalizing medical marijuana, Greece also assessed its potential value to patients. Through the report, which is available through the Ministry of Health, physicians can learn more about medical cannabis and how to apply it to treatments.
MarijuanaDoctors.com is a trusted resource for medical cannabis legislation in Greece, as well as around the world. Whether you’re interested in learning more about medical marijuana as a patient, caregiver or physician, you can rely on our comprehensive selection of resources.