HEMP flower for sale in Poland
HEMP flower for sale in Poland
Medical Cannabis in Poland
As of 2012, three cannabis medications are approved in Poland: Bediol, Bedrocan and Sativex.
Bedrocan and Bediol are used to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children, while Sativex is
approved for muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis.
Bediol and Bedrocan are imported from the Netherlands on a patient-by-patient basis (under a
system known as “destined import”), while Sativex can be prescribed by a doctor and obtained
at certain pharmacies in Poland. With regards to Bediol and Bedrocan, imports must be
approved by the Ministry of Health. In practice, permission can be hard to obtain, and
treatments can be prohibitively expensive.
However, medical cannabis legislation is currently undergoing significant changes in Poland. In
April 2015, the Constitutional Court made recommendations to Parliament concerning the
regulation of medical cannabis – stating that scientific evidence affirmed its medical potential,
particularly for treating chemotherapy side-effects.
A survey in July 2015 indicated that Poles were strongly in favour of permitting use of medical
cannabis, with 68 percent in favour.
In 2015, three medical cannabis bills were brought before the Polish parliament – two were
related to the use of “Rick Simpson Oil”; a third, proposed by Deputy Speaker Wanda Nowicka,
would have permitted cultivation of cannabis for medical and personal use.
On the other hand, the Children’s Memorial Health Institute in Warsaw in 2015 banned a
neurologist, Marek Bachanski, from conducting experimental cannabis-based treatment of
epilepsy in children, demonstrating that the progressive trend is not yet universal.
The right-wing, conservative Law and Justice party swept to power in the recent general
elections, obtaining a safe majority. Its candidate, Andrzej Duda, became the country’s
President, giving the new government a great deal of executive power in a country with a long
history of coalition governments.
This was hailed as a dark day for cannabis and drug activism in Poland. Certainly, the party is
not in favour of recreational use of cannabis or other drugs. However, in March 2016, the new
Polish government announced a surprising decision – to make medical cannabis cheaper and
more accessible to patients.
Since the landmark decision, it has become possible to receive a full refund on medical
cannabis pharmaceuticals obtained with permission from the Ministry of Health under the
“destined import” scheme.
Prior to this, the price of one prescription’s worth of medical cannabis exceeded 2500 zlotys
(€570) – equivalent to over half the average salary in Poland.
“This is a surprising, yet very good decision of the current government. Because of it, many
patients will be able to continue therapy using medications containing medical cannabis, without
incurring massive costs,” commented Marek Bachanski, the doctor banned from using medical
cannabis to treat children with epilepsy.
Deputy Minister of Justice, Patryk Jaki, also commented positively on the Ministry’s decision,
saying: “All the patients, including sick children, will benefit”.
However, the requirement for Health Ministry approval for each individual case means that
access to medical cannabis in Poland still presents a challenge to the patient, and means that in
practice, patient numbers receiving Bedrocan and Bediol from the Netherlands will remain
A parliamentary commission yesterday called for medical marijuana to be available in
apothecaries across Poland by doctor’s prescription. The substance would be imported, as the
commission specifically recommended against domestic cultivation of marijuana.
CBD, which is on the market in Poland, was not addressed during the commission meeting,
held Jan. 26. THC levels relevant to hemp-based food also was not a topic, sources reported to
HempToday, indicating tacit approval for those products. Some in the industry had feared a
directive to drastically reduce minimum THC levels below the generally accepted European
norm of 0.2%, which would effectively destroy Polish hemp farming and the domestic hemp food
The realities of medical marijuana in Poland
Now that medical cannabis is legal, and that various supply arrangements have been made,
doctors in Poland are free to prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients wherever it is deemed
“The law in Poland does not contain a closed list of medical conditions in which cannabis can be
prescribed,” explains Samia al-Hameri, a pharmacist from Spectrum Cannabis, talking to
Emerging Europe. “We expect that about 60 percent of products will go to patients with chronic
pain, for example associated with cancer or migraines, and the rest to people with multiple
sclerosis and epilepsy, amongst others.”
Given the lack of a fixed list determining what medical conditions constitute eligibility for
medicinal cannabis, there are some concerns surrounding what the medical cannabis system in
Poland will look like as it moves forward. With no standardized set of conditions, the decision to
prescribe medical cannabis treatment will be left up to individual doctors. Generally, the
guidance given to doctors is that medical cannabis should be used as an alternative when other
methods of treatment are ineffective for a certain patient, and where their medical condition is
one of those thought to respond to cannabis medicine.
“Expectations are enormous, but this therapy is only for a few patients,” says Dr. Jerzy Jarosz,
an anesthesiologist and pain specialist at St Krzysztof Hospice in Warsaw, also to Emerging
Europe. “Only 15 percent of my patients qualify for the use of this treatment, and only when
other methods of treatment are ineffective.”
While medicinal cannabis would be relatively accessible (it could be prescribed by any doctor,
as opposed to specialists only), the costs involved with medicinal cannabis treatment may be a
deterrent to some eligible patients. Based on the need to import cannabis rather than produce it
domestically, pharmacists estimate that the cannabis product needed is expected to cost
around 50-60 zł ($13-16 USD) per gram, correlating to around 2000 zł ($550 USD) for a month’s
worth of cannabis treatment.
One additional concern is the absence of any sort of documentation which medical marijuana
patients can hold, that would prove that any cannabis in their possession is for strictly medicinal
purposes if they are stopped by a member of the police and found in possession.