Medical Marijuana Card & Program in Italy

Updated on December 17, 2018.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Patients in Italy who are in need of high-grade medical marijuana can pursue these treatments if they have a qualifying condition. Italy is slightly different than other countries. In lieu of a medical marijuana card, Italian physicians can prescribe cannabis treatments if their patient qualifies.

Although medicinal cannabis is legal when prescribed, a new medical marijuana bill is moving through the Italian Parliament that would create a standard framework for patients to obtain their prescriptions. The legislation would create national regulations that would clarify any current ambiguity.

Benefits of Having a Cannabis Prescription in Italy

Both current legislation and the new bill maintain marijuana is illegal for recreational use. So, if a patient wishes to obtain their cannabis medications legally, they need a prescription from an authorized physician. There are a few benefits to obtaining a prescription rather than illegally purchasing marijuana.

In Italy, patients with a prescription can:

  • Legally possess and carry medical cannabis
  • Access pharmacies with high-quality, laboratory-tested medicinal weed
  • Purchase marijuana for less money — due to expanded cultivation efforts in Italy, the price of medical marijuana is expected to decrease

How to Obtain a Medical Marijuana Prescription in Italy

Unlike the U.S., patients in need of medical marijuana in Italy must receive a prescription from a physician. Although this sounds easy, it can be quite a complicated process. Italy’s Ministry of Health oversees the medical marijuana program and ensures only qualified patients can join.

First of all, a patient needs to exhibit one of the qualifying conditions or symptoms, including:

  • Glaucoma
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Chronic pain
  • Anorexia
  • Cachexia
  • Nausea
  • Spinal cord injury

Only certain physicians in Italy are authorized to write medical marijuana prescriptions. To prescribe medical cannabis in Italy, a doctor must possess both a medical license and a license to prescribe narcotics. Beyond that, they must be registered with the Italian Ministry of Health and receive their authorization to prescribe. Check with your physician beforehand to see if they’re able to prescribe medical marijuana. If not, you’ll need to find another healthcare practitioner.

Meeting with a prescribing physician is much like meeting with a doctor authorized to recommend cannabis in the U.S. They’ll check the patient’s medical records and determine if all other courses of treatment have been exhausted. If the patient qualifies, the doctor will provide a prescription for cannabis after going over the potential risks and side-effects.

Patients can have their prescriptions filled at a licensed pharmacy. However, be sure to check ahead of time to ensure your pharmacy carries medical marijuana.

Updating Medical Marijuana Prescriptions in Italy

Currently, a patient can only use a medical marijuana prescription one time for the recommended dosage. However, the new bill will allow prescriptions to last up to 30 days. Once a prescription expires, patients need to visit their physicians to receive another one.

There are certainly many resources that you can explore to research medical marijuana in Italy. For current guidelines and criteria, check out Italy’s Ministry of Health website — or, stay updated with us here at

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As Italian medical marijuana laws are amended, updated or changed, will keep you knowledgeable. We have a plethora of resources that provide the info you need to make an informed decision. Plus, our blog includes answers to frequently asked questions and other cannabis-related topics that will interest you. If there’s something you need to know about medical marijuana, we’re here to help.

Resources for Medical Marijuana Patients in Italy