The vast majority of Australians support access to medicinal cannabis. This support is galvanised by media stories of patients with intractable conditions whose lives have been transformed by cannabis-based medicines.
Most prescriptions are for chronic pain, anxiety, cancer-related symptoms, mental health, epilepsy and other neurological disorders.
More than 100 different cannabis products are now available to prescribe. There are oral preparations (oils) or capsules containing CBD (cannabidiol) or THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Dried-flower products are also available.
Access to Medicinal Cannabis is regulated by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Authority).
How do I know if I am eligible for Medicinal Cannabis?
There are strict guidelines for approval through the Special access scheme.
If you have had a medical condition that has lasted more than 3 months and standard medications have been ineffective or caused side effects then you qualify for medicinal cannabis.
Consultation – On the day of your consultation bring with you a health summary from your current medical practitioner and your consent form. You do not need a referral from your doctor.
Cost of Consultation – The cost for your initial consultation is $250 (this does not include the cost of the medication). You will receive a Medicare Rebate of $75.75.
Prescription – The doctor will assess each patient’s eligibility for treatment and if appropriate will apply to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on your behalf. Once approval from the TGA has been received this will be printed along with the prescription and sent to a pharmacy that is approved to dispense Medical Cannabis.
Follow Up – Your current Doctor will be sent information on the products you have been prescribed. A follow up consultation is advised after using the product for 4 weeks. This consultation will incur a fee of $89.10 with a Medicare Rebate $39.10.