Since most medical cannabis products don’t appear on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), patients cannot simply visit a doctor and receive a prescription.
MELBOURNE, Australia, Feb. 22, 2023 — In Australia, medicinal cannabis isn’t prescribed in the same way as other, more conventional treatment options. Since most medical cannabis products don’t appear on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG)1, patients cannot simply visit a doctor and receive a prescription. Australian sports science company Levin Health is focused on researching, developing and commercialising a range of medicinal cannabis products initially for the treatment of pain, mental health disorders and sport-related ailments. Here they explain what the process looks like for patients.
Levin Health explains that while the first port of call is still discussing symptoms with a doctor, government approval will have to be sought by your prescriber before medicinal cannabis Melbourne and Australia-wide can be prescribed.
Medical marijuana’s Australia-wide is normally only prescribed if patients have already tried other treatment options, with little to no improvement in symptoms.
If the doctor believes medicinal cannabis could be suitable, they can apply for approval via the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)2. The GP takes care of the application along with any approvals necessary in that particular state or territory.
If the GP is a registered ‘Authorised Prescriber’ by the TGA2, they usually don’t need approval for each individual patient. Otherwise, they can use the TGA’s Special Access Scheme3 to obtain approval. According to Levin Health, eligibility is assessed on a “case-by-case basis” and usually only if all other options have been exhausted. Other potential routes a doctor could take is to suggest patients for a clinical trial or refer them to a medical professional with more experience with medicinal cannabis.
If the doctor’s request is approved by the TGA, the patient will then receive a prescription. Levin Health explains that pharmacies don’t always stock medicinal cannabis products, so they may need to place an order. Approvals take an average of two business days4.
Patients are not able to apply directly to the TGA for medicinal cannabis. Only a doctor or nurse practitioners can obtain approvals and prescribe medical cannabis products such as CBD oil. Australia-wide, medicinal cannabis is a controlled product, so it’s important to never buy any products online that claim to contain medicinal cannabis. It can only be legally obtained with a prescription from a doctor.