What is Medicinal Cannabis?
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 (also referred to as medical marijuana) generally includes one or both of two key components – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The chemicals within the cannabis plant are known as cannabinoids. THC and CBD are the two main cannabinoids responsible for most of the medicinal benefit of cannabis. Ongoing research is being done on the potential uses of other cannabinoids.
What is the Difference between Medicinal Cannabis and Street Cannabis?
Unlike street cannabis that is grown and sold illegally, the quality and purity of medical cannabis is carefully regulated, which means the effects of medical cannabis are more predictable, consistent and controlled. This is different to street cannabis, which is illegal, uncontrolled and harmful, and may be contaminated with (for example) mould or solvents.
Who is eligible to use Medicinal Cannabis in Australia?
Medicinal cannabis is legally available to buy and use for Australians who meet specific eligibility criteria if the correct process is followed by the prescribing doctor. The prescribing doctor needs to justify to a regulatory government authority, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), why the person needs medicinal cannabis.
Access to medicinal cannabis by way of TGA approval is not limited to a specific list of conditions or symptoms.
In order to be eligible for medical cannabis, 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. Approval by the TGA is dependent on the prescribing doctor’s application.
Who can Prescribe Medicinal Cannabis?
The prescription of medicinal cannabis in Australia is restricted by the Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). However the TGA does allow doctors 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 of medicinal cannabis and does this via a Special Access Scheme (SAS-B) application, submitted by the prescribing doctor on the patient’s behalf. The SAS-B application to the TGA includes clinical evidence and reasons for treatment, dosing routine, and length of treatment.
For the most up-to-date and accurate information on cannabis medicine and prescribing medicinal cannabis in Australia, visit the TGA website https://www.tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis-guidance-documents
How is Medicinal Cannabis delivered in New South Wales?
Most pharmacies in NSW can dispense medicinal cannabis products as long as they meet the Department of Health’s requirements – but a doctor’s prescription is required. This prescription is only possible after the doctor (as the authorised prescriber) receives approval for the patient from the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) through the Special Access Scheme (SAS-B Application).
For more information from the NSW Government on cannabis medicine prescription and dispensing, please visit https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/pharmaceutical/cannabismedicines/Pages/prescriptions-and-dispensing.aspx
What are the Reasons for using Medicinal Cannabis?
Eligibility for medicinal cannabis in New South Wales and across Australia is not limited to a specific list of conditions or symptoms. TGA approval is dependent on each patient’s unique set of circumstances, subject to various eligibility criteria through the TGA’s Special Access Scheme.
Plant based therapies like medicinal cannabis may be a valid treatment to improve quality of life, for a number of health conditions. Some of the health conditions include sleep and insomnia, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, epilepsy, PTSD, palliative care, endometriosis, cancer pain and anxiety. To find out more about medicinal cannabis as a suitable treatment option, please speak to your doctor or contact one of our consultants.
How is Medicinal Cannabis used in NSW?
Medical cannabis is available in a number of formats. Method of consumption, dosage, concentration and individual biological factors will impact the response time to feeling the effects of a medical cannabis product. The method for medical use of cannabis depends on the person’s needs.
- Breathing in vaporised dried cannabis flower works quicker but is effective for shorter.
- Oral administration by swallowing cannabis oil (like CBD oil) has a slower but longer-lasting effect.
- Topical application where cannabis oils are added to lotions, gels or creams has a quick but short-lasting effect.
Some people use a combination of options for treatment. Medicinal cannabis should not be smoked. For more information on the use of cannabis for medical purposes in NSW and in Australia, please visit https://www.tga.gov.au/publication/guidance-use-medicinal-cannabis-australia-overview
Accessing Medicinal Cannabis in NSW
To find out whether medicinal cannabis is an appropriate treatment for you, the first step is to speak to your doctor or medical practitioner (via telehealth or in person). If your doctor is willing to pursue this option, but is unsure about the process, your doctor (or you) can contact Cannatrek for more information.
If you believe you may be eligible to access medicinal cannabis, but your doctor is not willing to investigate this option, you can contact Cannatrek and we can connect you with a doctor who has experience in prescribing medicinal cannabis.
If you are already 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 much does Medicinal Cannabis cost in Australia?
The Australian Government does not subsidise the cost of medicinal cannabis. This means New South Wales patients need to pay the full cost of products themselves. The cost will vary for each person, depending on the type of product prescribed and recommended dosage. Typically, the cost ranges from $30 to $100 per week. Patients would also need to pay for associated medical treatments and appointments with general practitioners and other health professionals. For a very small number of NSW patients, Cannatrek may be able to reduce costs through clinical trials or concession-based discounts.
Why choose Cannatrek?
Cannatrek was founded in 2015 by health economist Tommy Huppert, borne out of the philosophy that plant based therapies can be an alternative treatment to help people not achieving results from traditional medicine. In 2017 Cannatrek was awarded the second cannabis research license placing it in a position to help give Australian patients better access to high quality medicinal cannabis products and provide a better quality of life.
Have more questions? Contact one of our consultants at Cannatrek today.
To learn more about medicinal cannabis in Australia and accessing medicinal cannabis products in NSW, please speak to a medical practitioner or contact Cannatrek directly on 1300 122 662. For general enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or for access-related enquiries email email@example.com.