Updated on April 24, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
In 2017, Poland passed legislation that allows pharmacies to offer marijuana medicine. They don’t have a medical marijuana program that patients must join, but they do have dedicated procedures and officials overseeing medicinal cannabis.
In Poland, you don’t have to get a medical marijuana ID to have access to medical marijuana. But, you still need permission from a licensed doctor and your region’s pharmaceutical inspector. Obtaining these authorizations lets you medicate legally without worrying about prosecution or low-quality medication.
Since Poland does not allow recreational cannabis, the medicine sold at pharmacies is the only legal marijuana in the country. So, you can’t self-medicate with recreational products under Polish law — you must take cannabis medicine instead. Obtaining medical permission gives you access to safe, pharmaceutical-grade marijuana.
Receiving an authorization to use medicinal cannabis works a lot like getting a prescription for any other kind of medicine. But, you do have an extra step to take due to marijuana’s former status as an illegal drug. In addition to asking for permission from your doctor, you have to get approval from your region’s pharmaceutical inspector.
Talk with your doctor as a first step. Depending on how much training they have on medical marijuana, some could refuse your request, while others may be receptive despite a lack of knowledge. If your doctor doesn’t work with you to start medicinal cannabis treatment, you may need to see another medical professional.
After your doctor approves your request, you need to get in touch with your region’s pharmaceutical inspector. The Chief Pharmaceutical Inspectorate can direct you to the relevant official if you contact them.
After getting your initial authorization, your doctor may require you to make regular visits, so they can continue writing your prescriptions. By staying in touch, they can monitor your symptoms to determine if medical marijuana still suits your health needs. Frequent appointments also help them track any side effects your medicine causes.
Even if your doctor doesn’t need you to schedule visits too often, you might still want to request them yourself. As a patient with a chronic condition, you should record your symptoms and side effects, too. Checking in with your physician lets you both keep a record of your treatment.
The pharmaceutical inspector for your region may request a renewal from you after you register. These documents will also likely require a visit to the doctor. You may have to pay a processing fee and wait a few months for the recertification to go through, too.
Some countries require doctors to go through specialized training or certification to approve medical marijuana for their patients. Poland doesn’t have such a rule — instead, they let any licensed doctor write prescriptions for cannabis medicine.
However, many Polish medical professionals don’t have any education on cannabis medicine or related topics. This can make them more likely to reject requests for authorizations or prescribe incorrectly. Currently, MP Piotr Liroy-Marzec, a staunch advocate for medicinal marijuana, plans to establish a Polish Institute of Cannabis. This organization would help medical professionals learn about medical marijuana.
As a new part of Polish law, medical cannabis legislation and certification can be unclear. If you have any questions about either topic, contact Poland’s Ministry of Health. To keep track of any updates in the medical marijuana scene, check our blog on a regular basis for international news.