Medicinal Cannabis in Australia

Medicinal marijuana refers to the use of cannabis or its active substances, called cannabinoids, for healing intentions.

In Australia, medicinal cannabis is legal under certain circumstances and is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

To access medicinal cannabis in Australia, patients must have a valid prescription from a medical practitioner.

The prescription must be made in accordance with the TGA guidelines and be for an approved medicinal cannabis product.

Medicinal cannabis products are available in a variety of forms, including oils, capsules, and vaporizers.

The TGA has established two pathways for patients to access medicinal cannabis products: the Special Access Scheme (SAS) and the Authorised Prescriber Scheme (APS).

The SAS allows medical practitioners to apply to the TGA for permission to prescribe unapproved medicinal cannabis products for their patients.

The APS allows medical practitioners with relevant expertise to become authorised to prescribe approved medicinal cannabis products without the need for individual patient applications to the TGA.

Medicinal cannabis is commonly used to treat symptoms associated with conditions such as:

  • chronic pain
  • chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • epilepsy
  • multiple sclerosis
  • palliative care

While research on the therapeutic effects of medicinal cannabis is still in its early stages, there is evidence to suggest that it may be beneficial for some medical conditions.

Despite its legal status, accessing medicinal cannabis in Australia can be difficult and expensive, and there is limited availability of medicinal cannabis products.

However, the government has taken steps to increase access to medicinal cannabis, including the establishment of the Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Council and the provision of funding for research into the use of medicinal cannabis for various medical conditions.


How to Buy Medicinal Cannabis

In Australia, access to medical cannabis is strictly regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). To obtain medicinal cannabis, patients must follow a few steps:

  1. Consultation with a Medical Practitioner: Patients who are interested in using medicinal cannabis should consult with a medical practitioner. The medical practitioner will assess the patient’s condition and determine if medicinal cannabis is a suitable treatment option.
  2. Obtaining a Prescription: If the medical practitioner determines that medical cannabis is a suitable treatment option, they can prescribe it to the patient. The prescription must be made in accordance with the TGA guidelines and be for an approved medicinal cannabis product.
  3. Accessing Medicinal Cannabis: Once the patient has a valid prescription, they can access medicinal cannabis through one of two pathways: the Special Access Scheme (SAS) or the Authorised Prescriber Scheme (APS).
  • The SAS: The SAS allows medical practitioners to apply to the TGA for permission to prescribe unapproved medicinal cannabis products for their patients. Patients must have a valid prescription and their medical practitioner must apply for access to the TGA on their behalf.
  • The APS: The APS allows medical practitioners with relevant expertise to become authorised to prescribe approved medicinal cannabis products without the need for individual patient applications to the TGA.
  1. Obtaining Medicinal Cannabis Products: Medicinal cannabis products are available in a variety of forms, including oils, capsules, and vaporizers. They can be obtained through licensed pharmacies or approved importers.

It’s important to note that access to medical cannabis in Australia can be difficult and expensive, and there is limited availability of medicinal cannabis products.

Patients should consult with their medical practitioner and explore all available treatment options before deciding to use medical cannabis.


Medicare Medicinal Cannabis

Unfortunately, medicinal cannabis is not currently subsidised by Medicare in Australia. This means that patients who wish to use medicinal cannabis will need to pay for it out of pocket. The cost of medicinal cannabis products can be high, and there is limited availability of subsidised products.

However, in some cases, patients may be able to access medicinal cannabis through clinical trials or research studies, which may provide the product at no cost or at a reduced cost. The government has also provided funding for research into the use of medicinal cannabis for various medical conditions, which may lead to the development of more affordable and accessible products in the future.

It’s important for patients to discuss the potential costs and benefits of medicinal cannabis with their medicinal practitioner and explore all available treatment options before deciding to use medicinal cannabis.


Medicinal Cannabis by State and Territory

The laws for accessing medicinal cannabis are the same across all states and territories in Australia. Access to medicinal cannabis is strictly regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which is a national body responsible for regulating the supply of medicines in Australia.

The process for obtaining medicinal cannabis is the same across all states and territories. Patients must have a valid prescription from a medical practitioner, and can access medicinal cannabis through the Special Access Scheme (SAS) or the Authorised Prescriber Scheme (APS).

However, individual states and territories may have different regulations around the cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of medicinal cannabis products. Some states and territories may also have additional requirements for patients or medical practitioners, such as registration or notification requirements.

It’s important for patients and medical practitioners to be aware of any state or territory-specific requirements when accessing medicinal cannabis, and to ensure they are complying with all relevant regulations.