updated 6/18/2014 3:18:12 PM ET 2014-06-18T19:18:12

MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - Uruguay, which recently passed a law making it the first country to legalize the production and sale of cannabis, will also allow doctors to prescribe the drug to treat certain medical conditions, the country's health minister said on Wednesday.

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"It will mainly be used to alleviate pain, as in the case of cancer, as well as convulsions or epilepsy," Susana Muniz told Reuters, adding that it could also be prescribed to help those addicted to harder narcotics kick the habit.

Uruguay's wider legalization of marijuana, which was passed in December, limits consumption for recreational use to 40 grams a month, though the minister said the government was considering raising this limit for those who needed it for medical reasons.

The law, which is being closed watched by other countries, has not yet been fully implemented.

Uruguay is expected to shortly award between two and six licenses to produce up to 10 tons of marijuana in 2014 on land that will be guarded by the military.

(Reporting by Malena Castaldi, Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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