Updated on January 22, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
For more than 100 years, the Turkish government has treated the use of cannabis harshly. Those caught with it are still subject to prison time. Even with these highly conservative views, Turkey legalized the limited use of medical marijuana in 2016. Like many nations, the program is overseen by their Ministry of Health. But, instead of an MMJ card, patients must receive a red prescription from a qualified physician.
Even though the program was implemented almost a year ago, the government of Turkey has been slow to roll out the details. This leaves both patients and physicians hesitant to pursue this form of medication.
The use of cannabis is highly illegal in Turkey. Most people caught using marijuana are sentenced to two years in prison. Even with this harsh penalty in place, many citizens still use cannabis recreationally. This could be because of how difficult it is to find a doctor to prescribe marijuana-based meds.
Even with the limited options available to patients, there are some benefits to having a cannabis prescription in Turkey:
Because of how vague the government has been about their medical marijuana program, many patients are unsure how to get a prescription. The only approved cannabis-based meds are oromucosal sprays that contain CBD and THC. To get these, patients must first pursue other courses of treatment for their condition. If these do not work, they can then ask their doctor for a red prescription for medical marijuana. Red signifies that the meds contain narcotics.
With this prescription, patients can either choose to get cannabis-based medications from their physician, or they can obtain them on their own. Black market weed and other non-approved forms of the plant remain illegal, even to patients.
If a patient wishes to update their medical marijuana prescription, they must return to their physician for a consultation. The doctor will assess their condition to see how effectively the cannabis-based meds are working and determine if there are any adverse reactions.
Any doctor registered with Turkey’s Ministry of Health is permitted to write red prescriptions for cannabis-based meds. However, even though there are no legal repercussions for physicians following the law, many doctors are afraid to write medical marijuana prescriptions for their patients. This is mainly due to the government’s longstanding harsh view of cannabis. So, it can be quite difficult for patients to find a physician willing to write a red prescription.
Although the program is not clearly defined, contact the country’s Ministry of Health if you would like more information about medical marijuana in Turkey.
Many proponents of medical marijuana hope Turkey will lighten its restrictions and create a more workable medicinal cannabis program. As it stands, however, there is no new medical marijuana legislation in the works. If that changes, be sure to stay informed with MarijuanaDoctors.com. We update our information to reflect current international cannabis laws.
We also have an extensive resource guide, so you can research all kinds of medical marijuana topics and get informed on the issue. Our blog is another great way to get answers to commonly asked questions.