Medical Marijuana in Switzerland

Updated on April 24, 2018.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Swiss patients in need of relief can use a limited list of cannabis-based products to feel better. Depending on their situation, they can work with a doctor or get CBD items from a shop. Hopefully, the steps Switzerland has taken toward accessible marijuana medicine indicate more freedoms in the future.

Does Switzerland Have a Medical Marijuana Program?

Switzerland doesn’t have a formal medical cannabis program, but the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) handles requests for medicinal marijuana treatment on a casey-by-case basis. Doctors can ask to treat a patient with either synthetic THC or a tincture if they meet specific requirements.

If you need CBD treatment, you can get products with less than 1% of THC in some shops. As of May 2017, 130 stores had the authorization to sell CBD items. At that time, 250 more producers were in the middle of applying for a license. These retailers often sell herbal remedies or tobacco, as well.

History of Cannabis Medicine in Switzerland

In 2011, Switzerland changed its drug laws to permit the sales and use of cannabis with up to 1% THC. At the same time, they opened up the possibility of using marijuana as a medical treatment. In addition to other banned substances, doctors could apply to treat a patient with THC-based medicine in special cases.

2017 saw a boom in Switzerland’s legal cannabis market, possibly due to a push by customs to collect taxes on it. This campaign also involved requesting the proper paperwork from retailers to ensure all sales were recorded correctly.

Possession and Cultivation Rules

Having a small amount of cannabis in Switzerland has been decriminalized since 2013. An adult over 18 will only receive a fine with no criminal record if they have up to 10 grams of marijuana. However, you can only grow cannabis for research or medical reasons.

Telemedicine in Switzerland

Patients who live in rural areas can have difficulty finding a doctor willing to treat them with medical marijuana. So, telemedicine can give these people remote access to cannabis-friendly physicians. While telemedicine technology is expanding in Switzerland, the country still doesn’t have any national standards for it.

Who Qualifies for Medicinal Cannabis?

In 2013 and 2014, patients with more than 78 different conditions received legal exceptions to get medical marijuana treatment. They used cannabis to address well-researched symptoms like pain, spasticity and nausea. You can qualify for cannabis medicine if you have a severe or life-threatening condition and symptoms with research showing their responsiveness to marijuana.

Do I Need a Medical Marijuana Card?

Swiss patients don’t have to get a card or license to use cannabis medicine. Instead, their doctor submits a request to the FOPH detailing their diagnosis, potential benefits of THC and the patient’s consent. If they get approved, the patient can use a prescription to get their medication.

Facts About Cannabis in Switzerland

So far, here are a few details we have about Switzerland’s marijuana legislation:

Penalties for Marijuana-Related Offenses

The severity of the punishment for someone caught with illegal marijuana depends on the offense. They could pay a fixed penalty of 100 francs if charged with use. But, if they conduct other crimes in addition to consumption, they could face additional penalties. The state confiscates and disposes of all illegal cannabis.

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With Switzerland’s cannabis industry expanding, patients will soon have even more ways to safely and legally medicate. At, we want to keep readers informed about the latest news in their country and beyond. So, we offer a news and updates blog you can follow to stay in the know.