Medicinal cannabis can be legally prescribed by a doctor.
Manufacturers develop medicinal cannabis products specifically to treat the symptoms of a medical condition or to ease the side effects of other treatments.
The main active ingredients in medicinal cannabis products is called THC and CBD.
Medicinal cannabis and illegal cannabis come from the same type of plants – but are very different.
Illegal cannabis is grown from unknown sources, and may contain pesticides, moulds, and bacteria which are harmful.
The manufacture of medicinal cannabis is highly regulated and must conform to strict Good Manufacturing Practices – this means products are free from harmful ingredients, that doctors know what is in it, and that the effect it has for a patient will be the same from bottle to bottle.
All drugs have side effects, and like any other medicine, medicinal cannabis may or may not be right for you. It’s important to speak to your doctor about your treatment and questions about medicinal cannabis.
As more doctors are prescribing medicinal cannabis throughout Australia, it’s getting easier for patients to approach their doctors for information.
Even so, some people still avoid asking their doctors about medicinal cannabis because they fear they will be judged. It’s important to remember that access is legal, and you have a right to ask about available treatment options.
The following are a few tips to help you get the conversation started -
Medicinal cannabis can only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner and must be accessed through special pathways. These pathways are known as Special Access Schemes Category A and B.
Special Access Scheme Category A is for terminally ill patients, and Special Access Scheme B is for patients who are not terminally ill but need access to medicinal cannabis for their condition.
Your doctor will apply on your behalf, through one of the above pathways. Your doctor may also need to apply for state approval, as rules relating to medicinal cannabis currently varies between states.
Using illegal cannabis to treat a condition can do more harm than good. Illegal cannabis, including ‘homegrown’ cannabis, contains unknown and variable concentrations of active ingredients that may contain potentially harmful contaminants.
Medicinal cannabis should be considered only after standard treatments have failed. It is important to note that response to medicinal cannabis varies from person to person and finding the right dose may require trial and error. Our understanding of the role of medicinal cannabis will evolve through the experience of doctors and the individuals they treat.
Talk to your doctor about why you’re seeking medicinal cannabis and if it’s appropriate for you and your condition. Please note that medicinal cannabis should only be considered after standard treatment options have been explored.
If your doctor is not familiar with prescribing pathways, you can put them in touch with us and/or we may be able to help connect you with a doctor who can assist – please call 1800 187 878 for more information.