What is Medicinal Cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis is any product that contains cannabis or components derived from the cannabis plant prescribed by a doctor to treat or relieve 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 major cannabinoids responsible for most of the medicinal benefit of cannabis.
Medicinal cannabis is different to street cannabis because it is highly regulated. Unlike street cannabis which is grown and sold illegally and is often contaminated, the effects of medical cannabis are more predictable, consistent and controlled because of its high quality and purity.
How Medicinal Cannabis Works and its Benefits
Plant-based therapies like medicinal marijuana have been used for medical purposes for thousands of years as a viable treatment for a number of health conditions. In recent years, the Australian Federal Government has passed legislation allowing the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis for medical or scientific purposes.
Some of the health conditions plant-based therapies like medicinal cannabis may treat include sleep and insomnia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD, palliative care, endometriosis, chronic pain, cancer and anxiety.
Medicinal Cannabis Products available in Tasmania
Medical cannabis is available for Tasmanian patients in a number of formats. Method of consumption, dosage, concentration and individual biological factors will all impact on response time to feeling the effects of medicinal cannabis.
The main ways to take medicinal cannabis are: inhalation, by breathing in vaporised dried cannabis flower; ingestion and sublingual, by swallowing cannabis oil or administering under the tongue; and/or topical, where oils can be added to lotions, gels or creams for topical application.
Some people use a combination of these options as a form of treatment. Medicinal cannabis should not be smoked.
Who is Eligible to use Medicinal Cannabis in Tasmania?
In Tasmania, to allow medical practitioners access to medicinal cannabis for patients, the Tasmanian Government developed the Controlled Access Scheme (CAS) in 2017 for subsidised access to medical cannabis. On 16 March 2021 the State Government announced changes in accessing medical cannabis in Tasmania effective 1 July 2021. These changes aligned Tasmania with other Australian jurisdictions where Tasmanian GPs are required to seek approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) under the Special Access Scheme (SAS).
As part of the Australian Government Department of Health and responsible for regulating therapeutic goods, the TGA will either approve a patient’s prescription or not, on a case-by-case basis based on the prescribing doctor’s application. Access to medicinal cannabis by way of TGA approval is not limited to a specific list of conditions or symptoms. Although a person needs to have had their condition for at least three months in order to be eligible and must also have tried conventional medical treatment, which either did not work for them or gave them unacceptable side effects.
For more information on recent changes in Tasmanian State Government legislation regarding medicinal cannabis, please visit http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/psbtas/medicinal_cannabis
Accessing Medicinal Cannabis in Tasmania
The first step in assessing whether medicinal cannabis is available and appropriate for you is to speak to your doctor. If your doctor, as the prescriber, is willing to pursue this option but is unsure of next steps, they (or you) can contact Cannatrek for information. If your usual doctor is not willing to pursue this option and you believe you may be eligible to access medicinal cannabis, you can contact Cannatrek to connect you with a doctor who has experience in prescribing medicinal cannabis. If you are eligible for medicinal cannabis treatment and get in touch with us, we can streamline the process for you – from first consultation, through TGA approval, to delivery of the prescribed product.
How Long Does a Medicinal Cannabis Approval Take?
The general steps in accessing medicinal cannabis are outlined below.
Referral: Get a referral and/or healthcare summary from your general practitioner.
Initial Consultation: Discuss your health, needs and options with one of our doctors.
Application: The doctor applies to the TGA on your behalf for medicinal cannabis access and treatment.
Approval: If approved, an application is typically approved within 48 hours.
Prescription: The doctor writes your prescription which goes directly to a pharmacy. Subject to a valid prescription, medicinal cannabis can be legally dispensed at any pharmacy in Tasmania as long as they meet the Australian Government Department of Health’s requirements.
Delivery: The pharmacy delivers the product(s) to you.
Follow-up: Regular monitoring and repeat prescriptions as required.
Who can Prescribe Medicinal Cannabis in Tasmania?
In Australia, the TGA regulates and restricts the prescription of medicinal cannabis, allowing registered medical practitioners to prescribe medicinal cannabis for patients who have not responded to conventional medicine or if their current treatment has unbearable side effects.
As a regulatory healthcare body, the TGA needs to approve each patient’s prescription on a case-by-case basis through the Special Access Scheme (SAS). Submitted by the prescribing doctor on the patient’s behalf, the application to the TGA includes clinical evidence and clinically justified reasons for treatment, dosing routine, and length of treatment.
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 much does Medicinal Cannabis Cost in Hobart?
Tasmanians with serious illness who have not responded to conventional therapies have access to subsidised medicinal cannabis when prescribed through the Tasmanian Health Service (THS) relevant medical specialist pathway. Tasmania is the only jurisdiction in Australia that subsides medical cannabis in such cases.
For all other patients, the Australian Government does not subsidise the cost of medicinal cannabis. This means patients would need to pay the full cost of prescribed medical cannabis products themselves. The cost varies by patient, depending on the type of product, frequency of use and dosage. For a small number of patients, Cannatrek may be able to reduce costs through clinical trials or concession-based discounts. However, this is not often possible.
Why Choose Cannatrek?
Cannatrek is a technology-driven Australian company specialising in the research, cultivation, manufacturing and delivery of medical cannabis. Founded in 2015, Cannatrek grew out of the philosophy that plant-based therapies can be an alternative way to help people not achieving results from traditional medicine. Backed by medicinal licenses and six years of operation, Cannatrek manages the entire product lifecycle of plant based therapies from growth and processing to distribution and sales. Relying on an interconnected and trusted ecosystem of suppliers, medical specialists, and pharmacists, Cannatrek is committed to enhancing Australian patients’ quality of life.
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 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.