The green herb with a thousand virtues is making a name for itself in the country
The Federal Council said in a recent statement that increased demand had prompted the change. It added that until now medical cannabis could not be grown, imported or processed into certain preparations without an exceptional authorisation. This means that patients in need of unlicensed cannabis-based medicines could only access their treatment by obtaining an exceptional authorisation from the Federal Office of Public Health. Cases deemed legitimate by the latter had to be "justified".
As a result, patients using therapeutic cannabis will now be able to obtain a prescription directly from their doctor, without even needing to seek authorisation from the FOPH, as of today. The amendment will also allow the export of medical cannabis, on the sole condition that companies authorised to do so first seek approval from Swissmedic, which is responsible for "the authorisation and supervision of products for medicinal use".
According to the Federal Council, the demand for such products has exploded in recent years and the administratively complex handling of the deadlines no longer corresponded to the exceptional character foreseen by the Narcotics Law. They therefore presented to the Parliament a modification of the law with the aim of removing the prohibition of medical cannabis. However, a prescription will still be required to obtain these medicines.
A new study in the making
As a reminder, recreational cannabis and CBD products containing more than 1% THC are still illegal in Switzerland at the moment. However, a pilot cannabis programme is being launched in Basel, in partnership with the University of Basel, its clinics and the local government. The initiative is expected to make recreational cannabis available to 400 people from September 2022. The programme, which will run for two and a half years, will look at the effect of the plant on participants' mental and physical health via questionnaires. Pure Production has been chosen to supply the cannabis used in the study.