A lack of viable treatment options from conventional medicine for various medical conditions is driving a global movement to create safe and legal access to medical cannabis. Medical cannabis programmes now exist in a number of countries and more than 3 million patients worldwide are benefiting from legal access to these products.
The countries that have passed laws or enforced other legal acts regulating medical cannabis, include: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.
In the United States, medical cannabis products containing both THC and CBD are now legal in 33 states and the District of Columbia, while additional 14 US states allow for the distribution of products containing CBD. Some other countries, such as Finland and Ireland, are authorizing imports of medical cannabis products under their special import schemes.
Many governments are currently reviewing their national legislation for cannabis, therefore the number of countries with medical cannabis programmes and the number of patients having access to medical cannabis products are expected to rise. The growing interest of governments in medical cannabis is the result of coordinated patient demand, observational and clinical data reviews, demonstrated positive public health impacts, strategic focus from NGOs to develop, pass, and monitor laws/regulations and to fill a knowledge gap for mainstream institutions.