What is Medicinal Cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis is any product that contains cannabis or components derived from the cannabis plant that is prescribed by a doctor to treat or relieve the symptoms of a medical condition.
Medicinal cannabis products generally includes one or both of two key components – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD; CBD oil). THC and CBD are the two major cannabinoids responsible for most of the medicinal benefits of cannabis. There are other components of cannabis that may also positively affect health and symptoms.
What is the Difference between Medicinal Cannabis and Street Cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis in Australia is highly regulated making its quality and purity different to recreational cannabis which is grown and sold illegally. Medical cannabis is also carefully controlled in its components and dosage and therefore its effects are more predictable and consistent. This greater care and control of medicinal cannabis means that the products are not contaminated like illegal cannabis which can be contaminated with for example, mould or solvents.
Who can Prescribe Medicinal Cannabis in Australia?
The Australian Government Department of Health Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) allows doctors to prescribe medical cannabis in Australia but the TGA needs to approve each patient’s cannabis prescription on a case-by-case basis. The TGA does this via the Special Access Scheme (SAS) submitted by a healthcare professional on the patient’s behalf, which 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
Eligibility and Reasons for using Medicinal Cannabis
Access to medicinal cannabis by way of TGA approval is not limited to a specific list of conditions or symptoms but is subject to various eligibility criteria on a patient-by-patient basis.
The prescribing doctor needs to justify to a regulatory government authority, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) why the patient 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.
Plant-based therapies like medical marijuana may be a valid treatment for a number of health conditions including sleep and insomnia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD, palliative care, endometriosis, chronic pain, cancer pain and anxiety. To find out more about medicinal cannabis as a suitable treatment option, please contact your doctor or one of our consultants.
Is Medicinal Cannabis right for you?
Even though research into the efficacy and effects of medicinal cannabis for certain treatments is increasing, medicinal cannabis as a therapeutic treatment option is still in its infancy. Patients should always speak to a healthcare professional for advice for their unique circumstances before making any decisions around treatment options.
How is Medical Cannabis delivered across Australia?
Pharmacies across Australia can dispense medicinal cannabis as long as they meet the Department of Health’s requirements and subject to a doctor’s prescription – which is only possible after the doctor (as the prescriber) receives approval for the patient from the TGA through the Special Access Scheme (SAS-B Application).
Can you Drive while taking Medicinal Cannabis in Western Australia?
A patient’s general practitioner or the prescribing doctor is responsible for assessing a patient’s fitness to drive when using medical cannabis. In general, because cannabis can impair concentration and attention, it is recommended that people using cannabis products do not drive or operate heavy machinery. In WA, it is an offence to drive while using a product that contains THC – irrespective of the source of the THC. For more information on the use of medicinal cannabis treatment for Western Australians please visit https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/~/media/Files/HealthyWA/Original/Factsheets/medicinal-cannabis-fact-sheet-v2.pdf
How much does Medicinal Cannabis cost in WA?
The Australian Government does not fund medicinal cannabis products under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This means that Western Australian 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 the dosage. Patients also need to pay for associated medical treatments from initial consultation and follow-up appointments (in person or through telehealth).
Even though there is no government funding for medical marijuana under the PBS, from May 2021, Australians living with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy, have access to a new treatment — Epidyolex® (cannabidiol) — the first medicinal cannabis drug to be subsidised by the Australian Government under the PBS. Previously costing more than $24,000 per year for treatment, an estimated 116 Australian patients will now pay only $41.30 per script or $6.60 if they have a concession card.
Cannatrek also has a number of initiatives in place with doctors, healthcare professionals 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. Although this is often not the case. To find out more, make contact with the Cannatrek team.
How is Medical Cannabis used in Western Australia?
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.
- Inhalation: Breathing in vaporised dried cannabis flower works quicker but is effective for shorter.
- Ingestion and sublingual: Swallowing cannabis oil, or administering under the tongue, has a slower effect but lasts for longer.
- Topical: Oils can also be added to lotions, gels or creams for topical application. These formulations have a quick but short-lasting effect.
Some people use a combination of medical cannabis products as a form of cannabis therapy. Consumption method, dosage, concentration and individual biological factors will impact the response time and duration of feeling the effects of medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis should not be smoked.
Why choose Cannatrek in Perth?
Backed by medicinal licenses and six 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. Relying on an interconnected and trusted ecosystem of suppliers, doctors and pharmacists, Cannatrek is committed to enhancing Australian patients’ quality of life through medicinal cannabis treatment.
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.