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Medical Cannabis in Australia: 101

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Understanding medical cannabis in Australia can be difficult, but in general the requirements for it to be prescribed are quite broad and varied.

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Welcome to our comprehensive guide on medical cannabis, tailored specifically for Australian patients. This blog is grounded in the guidelines provided by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), ensuring that the information shared is both accurate and relevant to the Australian context.

Understanding Medicinal Cannabis in Australia

Medicinal cannabis refers to preparations made from the Cannabis sativa plant, used for therapeutic purposes. It includes a wide range of products containing cannabinoids, the active components of the cannabis plant. In line with TGA guidelines, it's essential for patients to understand the 'start low, go slow' approach in dosing. This method involves beginning with a low dose and gradually increasing it, which helps in minimizing side effects while assessing the effectiveness of the treatment.

Medical Conditions and Cannabis Therapy

Medicinal cannabis is prescribed for various medical conditions. The TGA has highlighted its use in treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic non-cancer pain, and in palliative care. Research is ongoing, but there is growing evidence supporting the efficacy of medicinal cannabis in these conditions. Patients considering medicinal cannabis should consult with their healthcare providers to understand how it might be beneficial for their specific condition.

Regulation and Access in Australia

In Australia, the TGA regulates the access to medicinal cannabis. Most products are considered unapproved medicines, meaning they have

not undergone the same level of assessment as registered medicines. However, they can still be accessed through special pathways, such as the Special Access Scheme (SAS) or via an authorized prescriber.

Prescribing Medicinal Cannabis

For healthcare professionals, the TGA provides guidelines for prescribing medicinal cannabis. These guidelines cover various conditions, including intractable nausea and vomiting, chronic pain, spasticity, and severe treatment-resistant epilepsy. The guidelines also include an evidence review and resources to help practitioners make informed decisions about prescribing medicinal cannabis.

Navigating the Process

For patients, accessing medicinal cannabis involves several steps. You should start by consulting with a healthcare professional who can assess your condition and determine if medicinal cannabis is an appropriate treatment option. If it is deemed suitable, your healthcare provider can either apply to the TGA on your behalf or prescribe it directly if they are an authorized prescriber.

Medicinal cannabis represents a promising treatment option for various medical conditions. However, it is crucial to approach its use with caution and under professional medical guidance. The TGA guidelines ensure that both patients and healthcare professionals in Australia have the necessary information to make informed decisions about its use.

If you’re considering medicinal cannabis as a treatment option, we encourage you to seek professional medical advice. For personalised guidance and support, you can book a consultation at Our team of experts is here to help you navigate your journey with medicinal cannabis, ensuring that your treatment is safe, effective, and tailored to your specific needs.

Thank you for reading our blog on Medical Cannabis 101. We hope this guide has provided you with a clearer understanding of medicinal cannabis in the Australian context, helping you make informed decisions about your health and well-being.

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