Medical Use of Cannabis in Switzerland: an analysis of Infrastructure and Regulations

The Council of States unanimously adopted the amendment to the law on Monday 8th of March. The National Council already agreed in the winter session that it would broaden access to medical cannabis in Switzerland as patients with a prescription would no longer need “exceptional authorization” from the country’s Federal Office of Public Health.

In other words, the final decision whether a patient gets access to medical cannabis would be made by a physician instead of a government official.
In relation to the Federal Council’s submission, they added that the BAG (Federal Office of Public Health) should still also collect data on side effects when monitoring the therapy.

Swiss lawmakers and public authorities anounce an amendment to the law which also regulates the cultivation, manufacture, processing and trading of pharmaceutical cannabis (THC content ≥ 1%). Growing medical cannabis is already possible today for scientific research purposes, medical applications or pharmaceutical product development, but only with corresponding Swissmedic licenses. Since pharmaceutical cannabis is covered by the Narcotics Act, licenses for growing and production would remain mandatory even after the liberalisation that will come into action in the summer of 2022.

Nowadays, every therapeutic application of THC and cannabis preparations containing more than 1% THC require a special permit from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. THC-rich cannabis is prohibited. CBD and CBD-rich cannabis are not scheduled, but are not freely available as a medicine in pharmacies without a prescription. CBD-enriched products are freely available as food supplements, tobacco replacements, and lifestyle drugs; provided they are officially quality controlled.

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