Updated on January 22, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Qualifying for medical marijuana in Australia can be complicated. While the federal government established a few regulations, specific cannabis laws come from the states’ governments. So, somebody who qualifies in one state may not necessarily qualify in another.
Learn more about medical marijuana qualifications in Australia so you can start your journey to relief.
Australian states tend to reserve medical marijuana eligibility for patients with severe conditions. Also, the patients usually must have found other kinds of treatment ineffective, using cannabis as a last resort. To determine whether you qualify, you should carefully read your state’s website pages on medical cannabis laws.
Federal and state governments try to base their legislation on scientific evidence. So, they often only accept patients with conditions that have a lot of research supporting marijuana as a treatment. For example, New South Wales will consider adults with terminal illnesses, while Victoria only approves children with epilepsy.
The specifics of how to become a medicinal cannabis patient in Australia varies by state, but they usually follow a similar pattern. To know exactly what you must do to apply, visit your state government’s website. This outline should give you an idea of what to expect.
To start requesting medical marijuana access, you must talk with a doctor first. Depending where you live, you can visit a general practitioner or specialist. The doctor you visit will contact the government to ask for approval, or you will be redirected to a specialist for further evaluation.
If you live in an area where you can’t find any doctors who will help you apply for medical marijuana, you can try using telemedicine. Telemedicine technology lets you use communications like videoconferencing to get in touch with a doctor. It lets patients who live in remote areas get the medical help they need.
Once you get permission to use medical marijuana for your condition, you can simply get your medication at a pharmacy in most states. Your doctor will write you a prescription for your cannabis medicine like they would with any other medicine. Then, you can use that prescription to get your medication from a pharmacy.
You can use any medical marijuana product that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approves. They all go through an intensive review process to ensure safety and quality. Legalized products include bud, oil, oral solutions and capsules.
However, patients can’t grow their own marijuana plants due to Australia’s strict growing regulations. To grow cannabis in Australia, you must plan to provide it to a research organization or manufacturer. You must also complete an application to get a growing license.
Like with other medical marijuana regulations in Australia, access to medicine could vary by state. Look at your state’s regulations before you try to apply.
This fact sheet issued by the Australian Department of Health can give you an idea of the approach that the federal and state governments take to patient protections. While specific protections vary by state, the federal and state governments work together to make consistent policies that ensure the safety of patients and Australian citizens.
When it comes down to it, Australia’s federal government has legalized medical cannabis use. So, if you follow your state’s regulations, you should be free from legal persecution. Keep in mind that while South Australia considers marijuana-related activities a minor offense, every other state considers it a criminal offense.
To get access to cannabis medicine in Australia, it helps to understand how medical marijuana works. Knowing basic terms and the science behind cannabis will let you make an informed decision. We can assist by offering our comprehensive resource library that covers numerous topics related to medicinal cannabis.