Brazil Works Toward Domestic Cannabis Cultivation


In August of 2016, Brazilian lawmakers decriminalized the use of cannabis and replaced prosecution with a warning or potential community service. By 2014, CBD based medicines were being imported for people who suffer from a variety of conditions. In January, Brazil’s healthcare regulator Anvisa issued the first license for the sale of a cannabis-based medicine in the country.

By the end of this year, Anvisa intends to enact regulation for domestic medical marijuana cultivation for the purposes of scientific research and extract production. spoke with Carlos Estênio Brasilino, the Chief Communications Officer of Anvisa to get a sense of what the future of cannabis in Brazil will look like.

 What forms of medical marijuana are currently available in Brazil?

Anvisa has authorized the import of cannabidiol-based products since 2014, for the treatment of syndromes that cause multiple episodes of convulsion, among other indications.

Anvisa has recently approved the registration of Mevatyl®, a THC and cannabidiol-based drug, indicated for the symptomatic treatment of moderate to severe spasticity related to multiple sclerosis.

Brazil currently gets their cannabis products from other countries. When do you expect domestic cultivation to happen?

Anvisa is in the process of developing a regulation on cannabis cultivation for medicinal use. We expect this regulation is approved by the end of this year.

Are there any viable candidates in Brazil at this point who would serve as cultivators and producers of the medicine?

Some companies have requested information from the Agency, but we do not know which of them will actually request the authorization for production when the regulation is effective.

What do you feel the future of medical cannabis will look like in Brazil?

Anvisa is seeking to regulate the cultivation of cannabis for use in scientific research and medicinal production.

Today, the registration of medicines based on substances contained in cannabis is already possible. When cultivation is regulated, more universities will probably develop research on the therapeutic use of the substances present in cannabis.

Can you see a time in the future when adult-use cannabis will be available in Brazil?

The recreational use issue is not one of Anvisa’s attributions and it would demand a change in Brazilian legislation, which can only be made by the National Congress (the Brazilian Parliament).

We do not have a position on this matter because it is not within the Agency’s scope.

For the moment, if someone wants to gain access to imported CBD within Brazil, do they currently need a prescription?

The import of medicines based on cannabidiol and other cannabinoids for private use is also authorized by Anvisa. The Agency has authorized the exceptional import of such products since 2014.

The procedure presently occurs in accordance with resolution RDC 17/2015, which defines import criteria and procedures, exceptionally, for cannabidiol-based products by private individuals for their own use, when prescribed by a legally qualified professional.

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