Medicinal Cannabis Explained
Medicinal cannabis is any product that contains cannabis or components derived from cannabis that is 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 benefit of cannabis. There are other components of cannabis that may also positively affect health and symptoms.
Differences between Medicinal Cannabis and Street Cannabis
Medicinal cannabis is unlike cannabis that is grown and sold illegally. Because of the quality and purity of medicinal cannabis, which is carefully controlled, the components and dose, and therefore the effects of medicinal cannabis are more predictable, consistent and controlled. This greater care and control of medicinal cannabis also means that the products are not contaminated (with for example, mould or solvents).
Who is Eligible to use Medical Cannabis in Australia?
Buying and using medicinal cannabis in Australia is legal under certain circumstances. Eligibility for medical cannabis depends on specific criteria.
Legal medicinal cannabis products are only available for people 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. The person also needs to have had the condition for at least three months, and must have tried conventional medical treatment which either didn’t work or resulted in unbearable side effects.
The TGA then decides whether to approve the prescription or not.
Is Medical Cannabis Right for You?
Access to medicinal cannabis by way of TGA approval is not limited to a specific list of conditions or symptoms but rather is subject to various eligibility criteria on a patient-by-patient basis (as outlined above).
Plant based therapies like medicinal cannabis may be a valid treatment for a number of health conditions for Victorian patients. Some of the health conditions include sleep and insomnia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD, palliative care, endometriosis, chronic pain, cancer and anxiety. To find out more about medicinal cannabis as a suitable treatment option for you, please contact a healthcare professional, your doctor or one of our consultants.
Prescribing Medicinal Cannabis in Australia
In Australia, the prescription of medicinal cannabis is restricted by the Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). As a regulatory healthcare body, the TGA allows doctors to prescribe medical cannabis but needs to approve each patient’s prescription on a case-by-case basis. The TGA 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.
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
Accessing Medicinal Cannabis in Victoria
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.
The first step in finding out if medicinal cannabis is available and appropriate for you is to speak to your doctor or medical practitioner, as the prescriber (telehealth or face-to-face).
Where products in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) are found to be clinically unsuitable for a patient, the Special Access Scheme (SAS) serves as an alternative pathway for prescribers to access unapproved products for individual patients.
For more information, visit https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis-role-tga or you or your doctor can contact Cannatrek to find out how we can streamline the process – from first consultation, through TGA approval, to delivery of the prescribed product.
How is Medical Cannabis Delivered across Australia?
Even though most pharmacies in Australia can dispense medicinal cannabis, a doctor’s prescription is required which is only possible after the doctor receives approval for the patient from the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) through the Special Access Scheme (SAS-B Application). Most pharmacies in Victoria can dispense medicinal cannabis products as long as they meet the Department of Health’s requirements.
How much does Medicinal Cannabis cost in Melbourne?
The government does not subsidise the cost of medicinal cannabis for Australians. Patients need to pay the full cost of products themselves and the cost will vary for each person, depending on the type of product prescribed and the dosage. Typically, the cost ranges from $30 to $100 per week. Patients also need to pay for associated medical treatments and appointments (face-to-face or telehealth).
Cannatrek has a number of initiatives in place with doctors and pharmacists to make pain management treatments more accessible and affordable for all patients. For a small number of patients, Cannatrek may be able to reduce costs through clinical trials or concession-based discounts. For find out more, make contact with the Cannatrek team.
How is Medical Cannabis used in Victoria?
Prescriptions for medical cannabis can be administered in a number of ways. The method used depends on the person’s needs and is based on the prescribing doctor’s advice.
Breathing in vaporised dried cannabis flower works quicker but is effective for shorter. Swallowing cannabis oil has a slower effect but lasts for longer. Oils can also be added to lotions, gels or creams for topical application which has a quick but short-lasting effect.
Some people use a combination of the above options as a form of cannabis therapy. Consumption method, dosage, concentration and individual biological factors will all impact the response time and duration of feeling the effects of medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis should not be smoked.
Why Choose Cannatrek in Melbourne?
Backed by medicinal licenses and 6 years of operation, Cannatrek is a technology driven Australian company borne out of the philosophy that plant based cannabis therapy can be an alternative way to help people not achieving results from traditional medicine.
Founded in 2015 by health economist Tommy Huppert, Cannatrek specialises in the research, cultivation, manufacturing and delivery of medicinal cannabis. 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.
Cannatrek manages the entire product lifecycle of plant based therapies from growth and processing to distribution and sales, relying on an interconnected ecosystem of suppliers, doctors, pharmacies and patients.
Have more questions? Contact one of our consultants at Cannatrek today.
Cannatrek can support you with information on cannabis therapy and if you are eligible, connect you to our network of doctors and medical practitioners via our streamlined process. 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.