Updated on January 31, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
While Australia established federal medical cannabis laws in 2016, each of Australia’s six states have their own rules regarding marijuana medicine. However, the states’ programs have some things in common, so you can get a general idea of what to expect from your state’s policies.
Australia doesn’t allow the recreational use of marijuana. So, even if you’re an adult, you can’t legally use cannabis without permission to use it for medical purposes. You must follow federal and state regulations if you need legal medical marijuana.
Getting recognition as a medical cannabis patient allows you to buy the natural medicine you need. With help from your doctor, you can get government approval for a medical marijuana prescription.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) allows all sorts of cannabis medications as long as they go through a rigorous review. So, you can get a prescription for medications like bud, oil or capsules.
Whether you can request medical marijuana depends on where you live. Each state has its own list of qualifying medical conditions that can receive medicinal cannabis treatment. Approved symptoms usually have scientific evidence backing up their responsiveness to cannabis.
Check your state’s medicinal cannabis website to determine if you qualify. If you think you do, consult with your doctor and ask if they would prescribe cannabis medicine for you. Patients who don’t have a physician who’s willing to prescribe medical cannabis can use telemedicine services to get in touch with a marijuana-friendly doctor.
Once you and your practitioner decide to try medical cannabis, your doctor may have to get approval from the government before writing a prescription. They can then provide a prescription for the medicine you need. Then, you can take the prescription to a pharmacy to use like one for standard medicine.
Australia and its states don’t exactly have medical marijuana programs. Instead, you get a prescription for your medical cannabis. So, renewing your qualification for cannabis medicine simply involves getting a new prescription like you would with any other medication.
To get ongoing medical marijuana treatment, you’ll probably have to repeat the process you went through to get initial approval. The TGA also wants the prescribing doctor to report how the medicine has helped you before they will renew your authorization. Your doctor will also have to provide evidence that your medication gives you more benefits than risks.
Your doctor may have to send reports to the TGA every six months that detail your experience with medical marijuana. They must report any adverse events that happen to you so the TGA can keep track of cannabis medicine’s effect on people. If you deal with any side effects, tell your doctor about them as soon as possible.
The requirements for becoming an authorized medicinal cannabis prescriber depend on where a doctor practices and the type of medicine being prescribed.
If you need to get a medication with just CBD in it, your physician might not need any extra permission. But if the medicine contains THC, it could be more difficult for your doctor to prescribe it.
The qualifications required of a doctor varies among states. In some parts of the country, you might have to see a specialist to get a prescription. Other states only require a general practitioner to treat you.
As you can see, your access to marijuana medicine in Australia highly depends on the state you live in. When in doubt, contact the relevant department in your state government to get more information.
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