The medical use of Cannabis is legal in Brazil. FACT
The medical use of Cannabis products is regulated in Brazil and there are several ways to access the treatment.
The first step was taken in 2015 by Anvisa (Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency) when it allowed individuals to import products regulated in other countries with medical prescription and authorization.
In 2017, the medicine named Mevatyl, composed of 27 mg/ml of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and 25 mg/ml of CBD (cannabidiol), was approved for marketing in pharmacies in the country, indicated to treat the symptoms of adult patients with Multiple Sclerosis who have moderate to severe spasms.
In late 2019, Anvisa created the “Cannabis products” category, allowing companies to obtain a Health Authorization to market pharmaceutical-grade products directly in the country’s pharmacies.
The scenario also features civil society organizations that act in defense of the interests of thousands of patients and fight for the democratization of access in different ways.
You have to smoke it to get the therapeutic effects. MYTH
It is not necessary to smoke it to obtain the therapeutic effects, although this is also a possible way of administering a product.
The most common form of presentation is the oral solution in an oily vehicle. These products are administered through droppers, syringes, or measuring cups, similar to a syrup. It is also quite common to find products in capsules (hard or soft), ointments, and gels for topical use.
But the options go much further, and even the inhaled use is a viable administration possibility when the therapeutic effect is sought, preferably using devices that allow the vaporization of the components instead of the burning as it happens in the cigarette.
The patient gets “high” when they make the medical use of it. IT DEPENDS
It depends. Talking about the medical use of Cannabis is overly broad. Each of the different cannabinoids produced by the plant are applied and investigated under different conditions and symptoms. If the recommended product has higher levels of THC, it is possible that certain doses will cause effects similar to those seen during adult use. On the other hand, with products with CBD predominantly, these effects are unlikely to be observed, even at high doses.
Any medical specialty can prescribe in Brazil. FACT
Physicians of different specialties can prescribe Cannabis derivatives, as long as their CRM registration [Regional Council of Medicine] is active. Dentists are also guaranteed the right to prescribe products under the import model by individuals, although the limitation to physicians only remains for products available in pharmacies.
There is no conclusive evidence of the therapeutic benefits of Cannabis. MYTH
This is a myth that may be a fact at times. The scientific evidence is stronger for certain compositions and conditions, such as for CBD in reducing seizures in epilepsy, or similar proportions of CBD and THC to treat spasticity in patients with Multiple Sclerosis. For these conditions, we can say that conclusive evidence exists, obtained through significant results in gold standard studies and approved by careful regulatory agencies.
All the other conditions for which the products have been used do not yet have conclusive evidence. Much of this evidence is supported by less robust studies and real-world evidence, others only by observational data, case reports, or pre-clinical results.
Cannabinoids are extremely harmful, and misuse can be lethal. MYTH
The concept of lethality is related to the safety of a compound. The safety of some cannabinoids and preparations, especially those in CBD and THC predominantly, has been widely investigated. Although they are not free of side effects, the medical use – or even the adult use – of different amounts of these two components has never been related to any death, unlike what can happen with other drug classes, such as opioids.