Cannabis in Brazil

As of early last week, the Brazilian regulatory body ANVISA set out new guidelines for the import, manufacture and sale of medical cannabis products in the country. In a seemingly contradictory move though, the regulator then chose not to allow the domestic cultivation of medical cannabis in Brazil. Then, the country seemed to contradict itself again when a judge allowed the import and cultivation of industrial hemp seeds (providing they have a concentration of less than 0.3%) a few hours after ANVISA’s prior ruling.

While the above changes may indicate that Brazil’s stance on medical cannabis is confused, the move to slacken the previously more rigid guidelines around the importation and sale of medical cannabis products seems to be in line with the steps taken by the country in previous years to allow prescriptions of medical cannabis products and to partially decriminalise the possession of cannabis for personal use.

Brazil also took steps in 2015 to allow the import of CBD oil products into the country via American company Medical Marijuana Inc., although the importing process actually started even earlier for some, as in 2014 some families in the country received authorisations from ANVISA to use CBD oil for the treatment of their children with refractory epilepsy disorders.

Indeed, the move towards more pro-cannabis legislation in the country has been building for some time, as back in 2006, the Brazilian government approved Law 11.343, decriminalising the public use of cannabis, putting alternative punishments for this offence in place, including community service penalties and educational measures.

Brazil still arguably remains behind its South American neighbours Colombia and Uruguay though, as these countries both legally allow recreational cannabis use and have established free trade agreements with the European Union and Canada on the international trade regulations of cannabis.

Overall, the continent as a whole appears to be forming a part of the ever-evolving, more progressive worldwide view on cannabis insofar as the benefits of the drug are being increasingly recognised, with legislation across the world changing accordingly.

For more in depth information on different regulations in various countries and how this affects pharmacists, we recommend accessing our in depth modules available on our website. Here, you can find up to date information on CBMPs and how best to prescribe them. You can also explore our news section and evidence base for the latest information on this ever-changing area of research.

We urge anyone considering the use of medical cannabis products to consult with a trained medical professional prior to beginning use.

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