In 2016, medicinal cannabis was legalised on a federal level in Australia; this allows medicinal cannabis to be prescribed by doctors for the management of certain medical conditions. However, it is important to be aware of the regulatory complexities that exist between different states and territories.
Any medical practitioner in Queensland can prescribe medicinal cannabis if they have obtained the required Commonwealth approval, and they deem it to be clinically appropriate for the patient in question.
New South Wales
With the relevant approvals, any medical professional in New South Wales can issue a script for medicinal cannabis to patients they deem clinically appropriate.
Doctors in Victoria can become Authorised Prescribers of medicinal cannabis, or they can apply on a case-by-case basis through the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Special Access Scheme. Once this is done, they are able to provide a prescription to any patient they feel may benefit from medicinal cannabis.
If a doctor in South Australia has the relevant approvals, they are able to issue a prescription to patients that they feel may benefit from the use of medicinal cannabis.
In Western Australia, any doctor may prescribe medical cannabis if they deem it clinically appropriate to treat the patient's symptoms. In the case that the patient has a history of drug misuse, they will also be required to see a medical specialist.
Australian Capital Territory
Medical practitioners in the ACT must have both Commonwealth and Territory approval to issue medicinal cannabis. With approval, they are able to issue a prescription to any patient they deem clinically appropriate.
To obtain a prescription for medicinal cannabis in the Northern Territory, there must be evidence that the use of it can benefit your specific condition. If this is the case, any medical professional in the Northern Territory can issue a prescription.
In Tasmania, you need to receive a referral from your GP to visit a relevant medical specialist who will then assess your specific case. If deemed appropriate, and other treatments have proven unsuccessful, you may be provided a prescription. The circumstances in which approval is granted, however, are very limited.
In conclusion, it is important to educate yourself on the laws that apply to your specific state or territory before you begin the process of obtaining a prescription for medicinal cannabis. Ready to start? Book a consultation with one of our doctors here.