Understand how Medicinal Cannabis is prescribed in Australia.

Doctor Consultation

What is the process of prescribing medicinal cannabis in Australia?

The process of prescribing medicinal cannabis in Australia is quite different to other standard medications. Keep reading to learn more about the process of how medicinal cannabis is prescribed in Australia. 

1. Talk to your doctor

The first step is to talk to your doctor about your health condition and the symptoms you’re experiencing. If they believe medicinal cannabis could be suitable for you, they may select a particular medicinal cannabis product and begin seeking government approvals.

It’s important to understand that medicinal cannabis is usually only prescribed if all other treatment options have been exhausted. For example, if you’re suffering from a particular condition, have attempted a range of traditional treatments, and have seen little to no improvement in symptoms, then your doctor may consider a medicinal cannabis prescription for you if it is relevant to your condition.

2. Apply for a prescription through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

Access to medicinal cannabis can only be granted by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Eligibility is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and is usually only considered if other options have been exhausted.

Your GP will lodge the application, which may include any other approvals required in your state or territory (if these are required). Once it has been assessed, the TGA will communicate with your GP.

Some GP’s are registered as ‘Authorised Prescribers’ by the TGA. These doctors don’t generally need approval from the TGA for each individual patient.

3. A prescription is issued

If the TGA approves your doctor’s request for medicinal cannabis treatment, your doctor will issue you with a prescription as well as any other paperwork your local pharmacy requires to provide the medicine.

Medicinal cannabis products aren’t typically stocked by pharmacies, so they may need to order them in for you.

Why does the TGA need to approve access to medicinal cannabis?

Medicinal cannabis products are not currently approved by the TGA, meaning their safety, quality, and effectiveness has not been assessed for the treatment of certain conditions. Since the legalisation of medicinal cannabis, the TGA plays a role in providing pathways to access to medicinal cannabis, including the Special Access Scheme and Authorised Prescriber scheme, as well as providing a quality standard for medicinal companies to follow.

Can I apply to the TGA for access to medicinal cannabis myself?

No, only your doctor can apply.

Is the process of prescribing medicinal cannabis different for each state?

Yes, the laws concerning access to medical marijuana cannabis can differ between states and territories in Australia. Below are a range of links to different government health websites, where you can learn more about how medicinal cannabis is legislated in your state.

We can assist your doctor
At Levin Health, we understand that for GP’s the process of prescribing medicinal cannabis for the first time can be a confusing process. If your doctor requires any further information on the process or where to start, please feel free to ask your doctor to contact Levin Health directly on 1300 053 846.

2. https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis-information-consumers

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