What is Medicinal Cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis is any product that contains cannabis or components derived from cannabis prescribed by a doctor to treat the symptoms of a medical condition. Medicinal cannabis products generally include one or both of two key components – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC and CBD are the two main cannabinoids responsible for most of the medicinal benefits of cannabis. There are other components of cannabis that may also positively affect health and symptoms.
The difference between medicinal cannabis and street cannabis is that, unlike cannabis that is grown and sold illegally, the quality and purity of medicinal cannabis is carefully controlled. This means the components and dose, and therefore the effects, are more predictable, consistent and controlled. It also means the products are not contaminated (for example with mould or solvents).
How Medical Cannabis Works and its Benefits
Plant-based therapies like medicinal cannabis may be a viable treatment for a number of health conditions and have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. With hundreds of different active compounds shown to help a range of varying medical conditions, medicinal cannabis is a valuable therapeutic option for many QLD Australians.
Some of the health conditions plant-based therapies like medicinal cannabis may treat include chronic pain from multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD, endometriosis and anxiety. Medical marijuana is also used in palliative care. To find out more about medicinal cannabis as a suitable treatment option for you, please speak to a healthcare practitioner (telehealth consultation), your doctor or one of our consultants.
Do you need a prescription from a Medical Professional to take Medicinal Cannabis in Brisbane?
Yes. Even though the Australian legislation changed in February 2021 to make medicinal cannabis available without a prescription at pharmacies, medicinal cannabis that meets the new criteria still needs to be approved by the Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
As a regulatory healthcare body, the TGA needs to approve each patient’s prescription and does this via an application (called SAS-B) submitted by your doctor on your behalf, which includes clinical evidence and clinically justified reasons for your treatment, dosing routine, and length of treatment.
The TGA allows doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis for patients who have not responded to conventional medicine or if their current treatment has unbearable side effects.
For the most up-to-date and accurate information on prescribing medicinal cannabis in Australia, visit the TGA website https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis-guidance-documents
How is Medicinal Cannabis Delivered in Queensland?
Even though most pharmacies in Queensland can dispense medicinal cannabis products, they need to meet the Australian Department of Health’s requirements. This includes a doctor’s prescription, which is only possible after the prescribing doctor receives approval for the patient from the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) through the Special Access Scheme (SAS-B Application).
Who is Eligible to use Medical Cannabis in Australia?
In Australia, buying and using medicinal cannabis is legal under certain circumstances. Legal medicinal cannabis products are only available for people who meet specific eligibility criteria if they are prescribed by a doctor who follows the correct process. The prescribing doctor needs to justify to a regulatory government authority (the Therapeutic Goods Administration – or TGA) why the person needs medicinal cannabis.
In order to be eligible for medical marijuana, a person needs to have had the condition for at least three months and must have also tried conventional medical treatment which either didn’t work for them or resulted in unbearable side effects.
The TGA then decides whether to approve the prescription or not. Access to medicinal cannabis by way of TGA approval is not limited to a specific list of conditions or symptoms.
Is Medicinal Cannabis right for you?
Although research into the efficacy and effects of medicinal cannabis for certain treatments is increasing, medical marijuana as a therapeutic treatment option is still in its infancy. Patients should always speak to a health professional for advice for their unique circumstances and requirements before making any decisions around treatment options.
If you are interested in exploring if medicinal cannabis is available and appropriate for you, the first step is to speak to your doctor. If you are eligible, the general process is outlined below.
The Process: How long does a Medicinal Cannabis Approval take?
Referral: Get a referral and/or healthcare summary from your usual doctor.
Initial Consultation: Discuss your health, needs and options with one of our doctors (in person or telehealth).
Application: The doctor applies to the TGA on your behalf for medicinal cannabis treatment.
Approval: If your application is approved approval typically happens within 48 hours.
Prescription: The doctor writes your prescription which goes directly to a pharmacy.
Delivery: The pharmacy delivers the product(s) to you.
Follow-up: Regular monitoring and repeat prescriptions as required.
Medical Cannabis products Available in Australia
Medicinal cannabis is available in a number of formats which means prescriptions can be taken in a number of ways. Method of consumption, dosage, concentration and individual biological factors will all impact your response time to feeling the effects of medicinal cannabis.
The main ways to take medicinal cannabis are detailed below:
- • Dried flower (bud) and vape concentrate are inhaled. Effects are almost immediate to 30 minutes for full effect, lasting between 2 to 4 hours.
- • Oil, oral spray and soft gels can be ingested or administered sublingually (under the tongue). Effects are mostly felt within 2 hours of ingestion, lasting between 6 to 8 hours.
- • Oils can be added to lotions, gels or creams for topical application. Effects are typically felt immediately depending on the application site and generally last 1 to 2 hours (so need to be applied frequently).
Why choose Cannatrek in Brisbane?
Cannatrek is a technology-driven Australian company specialising in the research, cultivation, manufacturing and delivery of medical cannabis.
Founded in 2015 by health economist Tommy Huppert, Cannatrek grew out of the philosophy that plant-based therapies can be an alternative way to help people not achieving results from traditional medicine. By 2017 Cannatrek was awarded the second cannabis research license placing it in a position to help provide a better quality of life to Australian patients.
Backed by medicinal licenses and 6 years of operation, Cannatrek manages the entire product lifecycle of plant-based therapies from growth and processing to distribution and sales and relies on an interconnected and trusted ecosystem comprising suppliers, medical practitioners and patients.
How much does Medicinal Cannabis Cost in Brisbane?
The Australian government does not subsidise the cost of medicinal cannabis. Queensland patients need to pay the full cost of products themselves. The cost for medicinal cannabis treatment will vary for each person, depending on the type of product, how much is used and how often it is used. Typically, the cost ranges from $30 to $100 per week. Patients also need to pay for associated medical treatments and appointments.
Have more questions? Contact one of our consultants at Cannatrek today.
Cannatrek can support you with information and, if you are eligible, connect you to our network of doctors and medical practitioners via our streamlined process for accessing medicinal cannabis. For more information, please speak to your doctor or contact us directly on 1300 122 662. For general enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or for access-related enquiries email email@example.com.