Frequently Asked Questions
What is Medical Cannabis Joint Research Programme?
The Ministry of Health is currently studying the legalization of safe and standardized pharmaceutical cannabis for medicinal use in Uganda, it is important to note that possession, trafficking and supply of cannabis for recreational purposes is, and will remain illegal.
What is Medical Cannabis?
Medical cannabis is defined cannabinoids-based products that are prescribed by physicians for their patients through registered protocols in accordance to law and regulations. The Ministry of Health is in the process of studying the medical benefits and assess other related community concerns. When fully implemented, the programme will provide access to standardized registered products for patients with a serious medical condition through a safe and effective method of delivery that balances patient need for access to the latest treatments with patient care and safety.
What is Medical Cannabis Research Facility?
A health facility which preforms testing and research on cannabis for medicinal use. The facility may develop and test Medical cannabis products. Each facility is authorized to engage only in the type of activity for which it is authorized.
Who can participate in this programme?
Under the law, approved patients who have a serious medical condition as certified by an approved physician are considered medical cannabis patients.
What are the approved “serious medical conditions”?
Around 50 therapeutic areas are under evaluation, the following are the currently approved conditions to participate:
1. Alzheimer’s Disease
2. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
3. Autism Spectrum Disorder
6. Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
7. Crohn’s Disease
8. Chronic debilitating Migraines or New daily persistent headache
9. Damage to the Nervous Tissue of the Spinal Cord (with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity)
10. Decompensated Cirrhosis
11. Epilepsy/Seizure Disorder
12. Friedreich’s Ataxia
14. Hepatitis C Infection
16. Hospice Care
17. Huntington’s Disease
18. Inclusion Body Myositis
19. Inflammatory Autoimmune-mediated Arthritis
20. Intractable Nausea/Vomiting
21. Lewy Body Disease
22. Multiple Sclerosis
23. Obstructive Sleep Apnea
24. Opioid Use Disorder
25. Painful Peripheral Neuropathy
26. Parkinson’s Disease
27. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
28. Severe Anorexia/Cachexia
29. Severe, debilitating pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measure for more than three (3) months, or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects.
31. Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis
32. Spasmodic Torticollis (Cervical Dystonia)
33. Spinal Muscular Atrophy
34. Terminal Illness with a probable life expectancy of under one year, if the illness or its treatment produces one or more of the following:
a. Severe or chronic pain;
b. Nausea or severe vomiting; or
c. Cachexia or severe wasting
35. Ulcerative Colitis
How do I know if I am eligible for the program?
If you believe you have an approved serious medical condition, you will need to visit the institutional clinic through MCRP registered doctor to participate in the program. The doctor will certify that you have an approved serious medical condition and are eligible for medical cannabis.
What steps do I need to take to participate in the program as a patient?
There are four-steps to participate in the program:
1. Register with MCRP desk at NCRI, Ministry of Health;
2. See an approved practitioner to get certified;
3. Pay for your application fees; and
4. Receive your medication
5. Follow up reports from your physician
What is a patient certification?
A doctor approved by MCRP can issue a patient certification. The certification confirms that you have one of the serious medical conditions, and that medical cannabis may benefit you. You need this certification to get your medication.
What is my patient profile?
Your patient profile contains all your relevant patient information.
Can you register as a patient for the program if you have a criminal record?
You are required to complete a background check if you are registering as a patient. All caregivers must complete a background check, and any criminal record will be reviewed prior to their approval.
Can minors with serious medical conditions get medical cannabis?
Yes. Patients under the age of 21 with a serious medical condition may get medical cannabis through a caregiver.
What is a caregiver?
A caregiver with the medical cannabis program is an individual who can pick up medical cannabis on behalf of their patient(s). Caregivers are not the practitioner who certifies the patient. Caregiver is assigned by:
§ Designated by a patient;
§ A parent, legal guardian or spouse of a patient that is under the age of 21; or
§ Designated to be a caregiver by a parent, legal guardian or spouse.
Who can serve as a caregiver?
An individual 21 years of age or older, authorized by the programme, can serve as a caregiver. Caregivers must register with the MCRP and follow the instructions to complete a criminal history background check.
Who can have a caregiver?
Any patient may designate a caregiver if they so choose. All minors are required to have a caregiver. There are three categories of patients include:
§ Adult patients who are home-bound; or
§ Adult patients who benefit from assistance (i.e. nonverbal, do not make their own medical decisions, etc.).
How can a physician participate in the medical cannabis program?
1. Register with MCRP desk at NCRI, Ministry of Health;
2. Pay for your application fees; and Physicians will then be prompted to complete the required training provided by the programme
3. There will be a final review and approval by the Ministry of Health in order to become a Practitioner who can issue patient certifications.
MCRP Advisory Board
1. Preclinical and Clinical Research- Natural Chemotheraputic Research Institute- NCRI- www.health.go.ug
2. Chemistry and other related tests- Central Government Laboratories-www.dgal.mia.go.ug
3. Product Development & Publications- FSDEA – www.fsd-ea.com
4. Regulation & Registration-National Drug Authority- NDA- www.nda.or.ug
5. Coordination of health research- Uganda National Health Research Organization- UNHRO- www.unhro.org.ug
For more information:
Industrial Hemp Pharmaceuticals Uganda
The Head- Scientific Office
P.O. Box 37613 Kampala
Tel: +256786421148 / +256758859508/ +256703336973