Brazilian Journal of Pain
https://brjp.org.br/article/doi/10.5935/2595-0118.20230052-en
Brazilian Journal of Pain
Review Article

Current legislation on medical cannabis in the European Union: historical background, movements, trends, and counter-trends lessons for Brazil

Legislação atual sobre cannabis medicinal na União Europeia: históricos, movimentos, tendências e contratendências. Lições para o Brasil

Ricardo Ferreira de Oliveira e Silva; Emilio Nabas Figueiredo

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Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The growing interest in the medical use of cannabis and phytocannabinoids has led European Union (EU) countries to regulate the production and access to cannabis products for their citizens. This regulation is based on international conventions, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidelines and legal loopholes that grant autonomy to EU member countries to authorize the production and marketing of cannabis-based drugs and foods. This summary aims to present the current status of medical cannabis legislation in the EU, highlighting the authorization of drugs, regulatory processes and the autonomy of member states in the production of magistral formulas.
CONTENTS: Most EU countries allow, in some form, the legal use of cannabis and its derivatives as a drug. Since 2019, three drugs containing nabiximols, dronabinol or nabilone have been authorized on the markets of EU member states. In addition to the EMA centralized procedure for marketing authorization, cannabinoid-based products can also be authorized through regional or national processes in EU countries. This autonomy extends to the production of magistral formulas in compounding pharmacies, allowing pharmacists to prepare formulas containing cannabis for use according to a specific medical prescription and, in some situations, at scale.
CONCLUSION: While it is not possible to conclude which is the ideal approach to the regulation of medical cannabis that all countries should adopt, the experience of the EU provides valuable lessons. The autonomy granted to the member states allows the expansion of the medical use of cannabis through the authorization of drugs and the production of magistral formulas. These experiences can be used as a basis for reformulations in Brazilian regulations, aiming to expand access and medical use of cannabis in the country.

Keywords

Drug and narcotic control, Europe, Medical marijuana, Pharmaceutical preparations.

Resumo

JUSTIFICATIVA E OBJETIVOS: O crescente interesse no uso medicinal da cannabis e fitocanabinoides tem levado os países da União Europeia (UE) a regulamentarem a produção e acesso a produtos canábicos para seus cidadãos. Esta regulamentação se baseia em convenções internacionais, orientações da Agência Europeia de Medicamentos (EMA) e brechas legais que concedem autonomia aos países-membros da UE para autorizar a produção e comercialização de fármacos e alimentos à base de cannabis. Este estudo teve o objetivo de apresentar a situação atual da legislação sobre cannabis medicinal na UE, destacando a autorização de fármacos, os processos de regulamentação e a autonomia dos estados-membros na produção de fórmulas magistrais. 
CONTEÚDO: A maioria dos países da UE permite, de alguma forma, o uso legal da cannabis e seus derivados como fármaco. Desde 2019, três fármacos contendo nabiximols, dronabinol ou nabilona foram autorizados nos mercados dos estados-membros da UE. Além do procedimento centralizado da EMA para a autorização de comercialização, os produtos à base de canabinoides também podem ser autorizados por meio de processos regionais ou nacionais dos países da UE. Essa autonomia se estende à produção de fórmulas magistrais em farmácias de manipulação, permitindo que os farmacêuticos preparem fórmulas contendo cannabis para uso de acordo com prescrição médica específica e, em algumas situações, em escala. 
CONCLUSÃO: Embora não seja possível concluir qual é a abordagem ideal para a regulamentação da cannabis medicinal que deve ser adotada por todos os países, a experiência da UE fornece lições valiosas. A autonomia concedida aos estados-membros permite a ampliação do uso medicinal da cannabis por meio da autorização de fármacos e da produção de fórmulas magistrais. Essas experiências podem ser utilizadas como base para reformulações na regulamentação brasileira, visando ampliar o acesso e uso medicinal da cannabis no país.

Palavras-chave

Cannabis, Controle de medicamentos e entorpecentes, Europa, Preparações farmacêuticas, Regulamentação Governamental

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Submitted date:
07/09/2022

Accepted date:
06/21/2023

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