Updated on April 18, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
After Greece legalized medical marijuana in 2017, many patients wondered if they would qualify. While many countries restrict medical cannabis to select conditions, Greece leaves that decision to licensed physicians, who assess your health and existing treatment plan before prescribing medical marijuana.
While Greece permits any patient to receive medical marijuana, it does emphasize the following conditions:
Since the country prioritizes helping patients with epilepsy, it’s a growing question as to whether minors may access medical cannabis. The government classifies medical marijuana among Table B substances, alongside opioids like morphine, so it’s possible that doctors could prescribe it to minors. The legislation, however, does not issue a specific answer.
The process of becoming a medical marijuana patient in Greece is extensive, yet paperwork-free for patients. To join the country’s medical cannabis program, start by arranging an appointment with your physician — if you see a specialist, such as a neurologist for MS, visit them.
When you meet with your doctor, discuss the possibility of cannabis. If your practitioner is familiar with its medicinal properties, they’ll likely review your existing and past treatment plans and assess their effectiveness in combatting your day-to-day symptoms. They’ll also ask about any experience you have with the substance.
If your doctor feels medical marijuana is a viable option, they’ll prescribe it. Due to the recent introduction of cannabis to the medical community, your practitioner may feel uncomfortable recommending it. If this is the case, consider seeing a physician with more knowledge about medical marijuana.
For practitioners, patients and pharmacists, one of the most significant challenges in Greece’s medical marijuana program is obtaining the medicine. Because of marijuana’s classification as a Table B substance, it’s highly regulated, which means additional paperwork and effort by your medical team.
If you’re a caretaker and your loved one is receiving hospital care, the process is less complicated. This is because hospital pharmacies often carry an array of medicines, which lets them provide emergency and intensive care to patients.
For patients residing at home, you’ll rely on your physician to complete the necessary paperwork for submitting your prescription, which must be approved by the Nomarchiaki Aftodioikisi, an entity that’s comparable to a county health office. Pharmacists must then travel to the State Deposit of Pharmaceuticals to receive your order.
As Greece develops its program and establishes its cultivation and production processes, it’s possible that obtaining your medicine will become more streamlined and share less of a resemblance to the procedure for receiving morphine.
Greece offers some protections to patients who join its medical marijuana program. One is the country’s vetting of distributors, cultivators and processors. By requiring each party to receive certification, Greece ensures patients receive cannabis that’s safe, potent and high-quality.
While not a safeguard, Greece also alleviates the burden that comes with joining a medical marijuana program. Instead of implementing an application process, legislators require physicians and pharmacists to complete the necessary paperwork, rather than the patient who is already coping with chronic pain and other conditions.
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