Eligibility & Access

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Cannatrek: Eligibility & Access

While the Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act (2016) permit the prescribing of medicinal cannabis, the process of obtaining it can sometimes be extensive and uncertain. The Department of Health’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has specified that cannabis products - which are not currently included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) - can be obtained through a Special Access Scheme (SAS-B) application, submitted by a doctor.

Why Medicinal Cannabis?

There is a steadily growing interest in prescribing medicinal cannabis for certain conditions by the Australian medical community. Despite limited clinical evidence, there is significant anecdotal evidence to support the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis for those struggling to find relief from chronic conditions.

Medicinal cannabis affects the Endocannabinoid system in the body and helps stabilise internal systems. By promoting sleep, appetite, stress reduction, modulation of pain and inflammation, medicinal cannabis can potentially help a range of conditions.

Many severe or drug-resistant conditions do not have a suitable treatment method that provides the patient with significant relief without intolerable side effects. By helping as many people as possible access medicinal cannabis, Cannatrek hopes to provide an alternative therapeutic option where traditional medicines have failed.

Eligibility

The TGA has outlined the criteria for prescribing medicinal cannabis. Patients must exhibit some or all of the mandatory indications listed below to be eligible for a SAS application.
  • A condition diagnosed by a doctor
  • Have sought out traditional treatment methods beforehand that resulted in:
    • Unacceptable adverse side effects
    • No significant efficacy in treating the prescribed condition.

The TGA requires appropriate clinical justification for each application from the prescribing doctor. This rationale will highlight the individual’s condition and circumstances and include sufficient evidence that they could benefit from this alternative treatment.

At present, there are over fifty conditions that have regularly received approved SAS-B applications. These “Fast Track” conditions include -but are not limited to – the below;

Although these are not automatically approved and will still require an application, there is a precedent set that applications looking to treat these conditions will have a greater chance of success.

Your doctor may consider a medicinal cannabis prescription if you present with either of the below:

  • Any chronic condition that:
    • Has lasted for three months or longer, and
    • Has not responded to conventional medical treatments or has unbearable side effects.
    • Any complaint that is considered a “Fast Track” condition for which the TGA has provided guidance.

 there are over fifty conditions that have regularly received approved SAS-B applications

Access

There are three Special Access Schemes for unauthorised therapeutic goods in Australia, medicinal cannabis prescriptions are obtained through the application pathway (SAS-B).

The application must be submitted by an eligible patient’s doctor or specialist with clinical justification and relevant medical history details. As an alternative to pursuing a SAS-B application, you could apply to be involved in clinical trials where medicinal cannabis is dispensed. If you feel your condition meets the initial requirements and medicinal cannabis products could benefit you, you can begin the application process by consulting your doctor.

Speak to your current doctor

Firstly, you should consult your primary health care provider or existing medical team and discuss the suitability of medicinal cannabis for you and your condition. Your doctor will understand your response to previous treatment methods and help decide if you are eligible for medicinal cannabis through the SAS-B Pathway. Should your doctor need more information prior to submitting this application on your behalf, Cannatrek has downloadable informational guides available and consultants who can speak to them directly.

Cannatrek Access

Your own GP is the first and ideal doctor to help you on your medicinal cannabis journey, but if they are uncomfortable with prescribing medicinal cannabis, and you wish to pursue it as a treatment option, Cannatrek Access links patients to qualified independent doctors.

These doctors have experience with medicinal cannabis and will help the you make an informed decision about the suitability of this treatment method. To speak to one of these doctors, you can book online and select a convenient time for your Telehealth appointment.

During this consultation, you will discuss your interest in medicinal cannabis, review your history and establish your eligibility for a prescription. If your doctor agrees you meet the criteria for approval, they can submit an application on your behalf. If at any point you feel you are struggling to get access or clear information, please contact one of our consultants to discuss your case further.