Did you know Medicinal Cannabis is legal in Australia?

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Are you looking to learn more about Medicinal Cannabis products, and whether they’re legal and available in Australia? Keep reading to learn more about what these products are, when they first became legal, and the kinds of conditions they may be used to treat.

Firstly, what is Medicinal Cannabis?

Medicinal Cannabis refers to medical and therapeutic products which are derived from the cannabis plant. They can be used to treat some medical conditions, as well as the side effects of some treatments. The proposed medical benefits of Medicinal Cannabis come from the active ingredients in the plant called ‘cannabinoids’, of which there are around 80 to 100 in Medicinal Cannabis.

Is it legal in Australia?

In short, yes! The Australian government legalised access to Medicinal Cannabis in 2016. That said, access to these treatments and products can only be obtained through an Australian registered health practitioner, and approval is generally assessed on a case-by-case basis. It’s important to note however that most Medicinal Cannabis products are unapproved therapeutic goods. This means that they haven’t been assessed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for safety or effectiveness.
However, there are clinically appropriate circumstances, where patients can work with their doctor to access Medicinal Cannabis.

What kinds of conditions can Medicinal Cannabis be used to treat in Australia?

There is currently some evidence that Medicinal Cannabis products may be useful in treating the following conditions:

• Epilepsy
• Multiple sclerosis
• Chronic pain
• Symptom relief for patients in palliative care
• Managing symptoms related to cancer and cancer treatments

Where can I learn more about and get access to this treatment?

The only way to learn whether Medicinal Cannabis products could benefit you is to talk with a doctor. If they agree that Medicinal Cannabis products could be appropriate for you, then they will need to obtain government approval, which is assessed on a case by case basis. Once your GP has the approvals, and you’re provided with the scripts, you can obtain this medicine from a pharmacy just as you would any other medication. The pharmacy will then order the medication within 1-2 business days.


Sources:

  1. Better Health Channel (Department of Health, State Government of Victoria). Medicinal Cannabis. 11 June 2019. Accessed 08/03/2022.
    Available at: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/medicinal-cannabis#what-is-medicinal-cannabis
  2. Health Direct. Medicinal Cannabis. Accessed 08/03/2022. Available at: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis
  3. Therapeutic Goods Administration. Medicinal cannabis. Accessed 08/03/2022. Available at: https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis
  4. Therapeutic Goods Administration. Medicinal cannabis products: Patient information. Accessed 08/03/2022. Available at:
    https://www.tga.gov.au/community-qa/medicinal-cannabis-products-patient-information

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