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Is Medical Cannabis Right for You?

To access Medicinal cannabis, you need to speak with your doctor in order to determine if medicinal cannabis is right for you.

Medicinal Cannabis can only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner after a thorough assessment to decide if the treatment is appropriate for the patient’s condition and individual circumstances.

If a doctor decides that a medicinal cannabis product is suitable for you, he/she must apply for approval to prescribe it under the applicable state or territory laws. Rules relating to medicinal cannabis products vary between states and territories and could affect whether or not medicinal cannabis can be prescribed.

With limited exceptions, medicinal cannabis products are not registered medicines in Australia, and none are subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Patients may only access medicinal cannabis through special pathways available for unapproved medicines.

Educating yourself on how medicinal cannabis may help you is a great way to prepare for speaking with your doctor.

Access to Medicinal Cannabis

How to access

There are strict regulations which control the safe and legal access to medicinal cannabis within Australia. The TGA has developed the following video to outline the process.

Potential medical benefits of medicinal cannabis

Cannabinoids extracted from cannabis plants falls into two main categories being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These cannabinoids may be helpful with the management of symptoms associated with a wide variety of conditions.

CBD has anti-inflammatory properties which could provide relief from pain and muscle spasms in patients with inflammatory conditions. THC has been prescribed for disorders such as insomnia, PTSD, neuropathic pain, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, therapy-resistant glaucoma, and symptoms like weight loss, nausea and vomiting [1].

The cannabis plant has many more components than their cannabinoids, as they contain a number of other compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids that are thought to produce their own effects, and in combination with the cannabis plant’s other compounds. This interaction between the different compounds of cannabis is known as the “entourage effect”. While the entourage effect has not been scientifically validated, many people who have self-treated with cannabis for some time believe it is important and therefore prefer what are referred to as “whole-plant” or “broad-spectrum” cannabis products.

Please consult with you doctor to determine the most appropriate cannabinoid, dosage and administration method which is suitable for your personal circumstances.
Side Effects Frequency
Fatigue / Drowsiness Very common
 Dizziness / Vertigo Very common
Nausea and vomiting Very common
Dry mouth Very common
Appetite increase or decrease Very common
Anxiety Very common
Cognative effects Very common
Heachache Common
Feelings of euphoria (intense happiness) or depression Common
Blurred vision Common
Hallucinations or paranoid delusions Uncommon
Psychosis or cognitive distortion (having untrue thoughts) Uncommon
Hypotension Uncommon
Depression Uncommon
Ataxia Uncommon
Tachycardia Uncommon
Diarrhea Uncommon
Cannabis hyperemesis Uncommon

Side effects

The risks and benefits associated with cannabis use vary depending on a variety of factors, including: the amount and concentration of medical cannabis used; frequency of use; medical condition(s) being treated; previous experience with cannabinoids; a patient’s age or sex; and use of other prescription or non-prescription drugs [2]

Like all prescription medicines, medicinal cannabis products can have side effects which can vary with the type of medicinal cannabis product and between individuals [3]. A low dose often provides satisfactory relief, allowing side effects to occur infrequently. Side effects are experienced more often as the result of high dose, fast dose titration, or when used in combination with a substance such as alcohol, which intensifies its effects.

Patients using any medicinal cannabis products should seek their doctor’s advice before driving or operating a vehicle or machinery due to the risk of experiencing drowsiness.

Some medicinal cannabis products may include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in which case there is a strict ban on driving and operating machinery. While drowsiness is not a known side effect of CBD alone, it may occur if the CBD interacts with other medications.

Find a Pharmacist

Once a doctor has determined that medicinal cannabis is suitable for you, they will provide you with a prescription (or e-script) for medicinal cannabis. This script may be provided to a participating pharmacist or fast tracked via our online ePharmacy.

To access our online ePharmacy, please register your details below and one of our trained medical advisors will contact you directly to process your order.