Updated on May 17, 2021. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
When Italy legalized medical marijuana in 2013, the country outlined a program and process for medical cannabis eligibility. Understanding how to qualify for medical weed in Italy is essential when considering using it as a treatment.
Italy has followed the approach of many countries that have legalized medical marijuana. The country designated a set of conditions that qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions — which are legal in Italy, as licensed pharmacies can fulfill orders for medical cannabis.
To be eligible for medical weed, patients must have one of the following conditions or symptoms:
The government requires patient with most of these conditions to have tried previous treatments before resulting to medical marijuana. Some symptoms, like nausea, cachexia or anorexia, must stem from another ailment or treatment, such as HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
While other countries, including the United States, require patients to apply for a medical marijuana card, Italy does not. As part of its medical cannabis program, patients receive their medical weed with a one-time prescription from their physician, rather than with a medical marijuana card. They then purchase their medicine from a pharmacy instead of a dispensary.
To become a medical marijuana patient, you’ll need to check if your doctor can prescribe medical cannabis. Some physicians may be unable to, which means you’ll need to transfer to another practitioner who is knowledgeable about treating your condition or symptoms with medical marijuana.
When you meet with your doctor, they’ll review your medical records and past treatments. If they determine the benefits of medical cannabis outweigh the potential side effects, they’ll provide you with a prescription, which you can have filled at a licensed pharmacy.
Since Italy doesn’t allow patients to cultivate their own marijuana plants, you’ll need to purchase your medical cannabis at a licensed pharmacy. Not all pharmacies in Italy fulfill prescriptions for medical weed, so it’s important to check before visiting one.
Pharmacists will review your prescription and fulfill it according to the dosage and amount your doctor designates. Once they’ve filled your order, they’ll provide you with a receipt that’s stamped and signed by them as a record of the transaction.
Prescriptions for medical marijuana do not include refills. As a result, you’ll need to visit your physician to receive another prescription. When you meet with your doctor again, remember to note any changes since you started using medical cannabis, as your physician may need to adjust your prescription.
Italy offers a few legal protections to patients who use medical marijuana. One way the country protects patients is by allowing them to carry medical cannabis. They also ensure pharmacies have access to high-quality, thoroughly inspected medical weed.
As Italy expands the cultivation of its medical cannabis, the government hopes to provide it at little to no cost to patients. This step would ease the financial burden medical marijuana poses to patients and their families, while continuing the country’s commitment to providing high-quality medicine.
At MarijuanaDoctors.com, we help patients connect with qualified, compassionate medical marijuana doctors. We also provide a comprehensive list of resources and offer the latest news on medical cannabis laws in Italy and beyond, so you and your loved ones can focus on healing.
Learn more about accessing medical marijuana in Italy by following our blog!