Medical Marijuana In Australia – Eligibility, Prices & How to Access

Updated on July 22, 2024 in Medical Marijuana Usage and Applications
0 on November 8, 2022

What are the Medical Conditions For Qualifying for Medical Marijuana?

In contrast to popular belief, there is still no defined list of conditions through which TGA can give approval for medical marijuana.

The criteria used for the determination of eligibility is if you have tried conventional medication for your symptoms. And these have not completely controlled your symptoms or have become the reason for side effects.

As numerous people have a wrong belief that medical marijuana does not have to be a last resort. Comparatively, simply it can’t be a first-line treatment. So, you would have been required to try a registered medication that your doctors have prescribed for your symptoms.

If that medication failed in working or caused intolerable side effects. Then there will be a consideration that you are eligible to try medical marijuana.

There is a piece of substantial evidence that shows that medical marijuana can assist in the reduction of pain intensity for numerous conditions. As well as it can assist in the reduction of the severity of symptoms for a huge range of conditions.

Applications Approved By TGA

The TGA has approved medical marijuana as of September 2021 for the following conditions:

Insomnia, Neuropathic pain, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Seizure management, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Migraine, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Spasticity, Parkinson’s disease, Palliative care, Sleep disorder, Tremor, Dystonia, Anxiety, Movement disorder, Anorexia, Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Chronic pain, Nausea, Multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s disease, Mood disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Epilepsy, Cancer pain and symptom management, Chronic fatigue syndrome among many others.

What Kinds of Medical Cannabis Products Are Available?

At the moment, there are more than 190 different products available in Australia. And there is going to be launching of new products all the time. Products come in numerous forms:

  • Oils
  • Flower (for vaporization)
  • Capsules
  • Oral Sprays
  • Wafers
  • Dissolving oral strips
  • Topical formulations and creams

At the moment oils are by far the most popular form which represents 65% of medical marijuana prescriptions written as of September 2021. The second widely popular form is the flower. It represents 17% of medical marijuana prescriptions written in Australia.

What Formulations Of Medical Cannabis Are Prescribed?

Generally, products are split into 3 different categories. These are mainly Balanced (CBD+THC), CBD, and THC products. There is a further distinction of products within CBD as explained below:

CBD Complete Spectrum: It is the full plant extract that comprises all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other natural compounds. These compounds occur naturally in the marijuana plant. These are inclusive of very low, non-impairment of levels of THC. There is the requirement of a complete spectrum for the maximization of the potential “entourage effect”.

CBD Broad Spectrum: It is the complete spectrum CBD. The refining of it happens for the removal of the trace amounts of THC for the accommodation of driving laws in Australia. It is a good balance between maximization of the entourage effect potential and being capable of driving legally.

CBD Isolate: It is a kind of highly refined product. All the contained natural compounds and other minor cannabinoids terpenes are removed. While taking CBD to isolate it is legal to drive. But, you lost out on the potential entourage effect. Over-the-counter CBD products Schedule, 3 will most likely be CBD isolates.

Balanced: It is about the equal parts THC and CBD. Usually, we consider it when CBD alone is not sufficient for the management of symptoms. Research suggests that there is a requirement for some THC for assisting in the alleviating of symptoms of pain.

THC dominant: There is a presentation of THC dominant with little to no CBD.

The doctor will start with a formulation that they think is most beneficial for your condition & symptoms. For instance, there is thinking for nerve pain that a balanced product that contains both THC and CBD will be most effective.

Most people start with a CBD dominant product for anxiety.

You may have the requirement of trying one or two different formulations for finding the most suitable product. Medical marijuana is a kind of very individualized medicine. It affects each person differently, so there is no set dosing.

The best approach is to work with an experienced doctor for trying and finding the most optimal dosage and formulation.

How Much Does Medical Cannabis Cost In Australia?

However, the cost of medical marijuana varies dependent on the condition of each person. But, most people on average spend between $4-$8 each day. The cost of Medical Marijuana has reduced over the years in Australia.

Product cost is dependent on the formulation on a cost per mg basis. CBD oils have a selling price as low as $0.05/mg. It is substantially lower than numerous black market, unregulated CBD oils sold online.

The selling price of Balanced oils and THC oils is as low as $0.10/mg. Usually, cannabis flower is between $13-$20 per gram. It is dependent on the THC level and brand.

For the calculation of the amount of mg/ml in a bottle of medication. You have to simply divide the total mg claimed on the bottle that is 1000 mg by the size of the bottle in milliliters (ml).

A 50ml bottle that contains 1000mg of CBD would be 1000/50 or say 20mg/ml.

Numerous people do the comparison between the bottle size and price in ml. But, you have to take into consideration the concentration of the oil as well for comparing accurately.

Below are few Medical Cannabis supplier in Australia:

What Types of Doctors Can Prescribe Medical Cannabis?

If there is a clinical justification for medical marijuana, then any doctor can prescribe it in Australia. Given a long history of misunderstanding and stigma, the problem is that most doctors don’t view marijuana as medicine.

It can be a challenge to convince your regular doctor to prescribe medical marijuana. There is the involvement of a lot of paperwork given the unregistered status of marijuana medicines. It is the case even if they are open to it.

Usually, doctors have the requirement of applying to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) under the Special Access Scheme. The creation of this scheme has been done for prescribing unregistered medication for instance medical marijuana.

Some doctors have applied to become Authorized Prescribers. It means that they can prescribe a huge range of medical marijuana products. This happens without having any requirement of applying to the TGA each time.

If I Am Prescribed Medical Marijuana, Can I Grow It?

Unfortunately, patients don’t have the facility of growing their medical marijuana. It happens even when their doctors have prescribed it to them. Companies have the requirement of obtaining an ODC license and proper permit for legally growing medical marijuana for patients in Australia.

Presently, the source of most of the medication which doctors prescribe in Australia is from overseas where schemes of medical marijuana are more advanced. Along with this, these are having much higher numbers of patients.

There is a growing industry of locally manufactured & cultivated medical marijuana. But, this industry is still in the period of infancy. For more local production to come online it will take a while.

This has not stopped prices from reducing. However, the influx of international competitors is flooding the Australian market with products that have resulted in better prices for patients of Australia.

Is Driving Legal While Consuming Medical Marijuana?

Driving while being into the effect of marijuana is dependent on the prescribed particular medication. Numerous patients who are consuming CBD broad-spectrum & CBD isolate where there is a removal of THC. They can drive until they have not become impaired.

However, those patients who are consuming medical marijuana products which are containing THC are running under the risk of testing positive on a roadside drug test. Unfortunately, even those patients who have a legal prescription for medical marijuana are not exempt. This exemption is about roadside drug testing and potential legal sanctions.

Those Australians who are driving laws do not test for impairment. But, preferably the detection of THC in oral fluid. Typically, there might be the was are that detection of THC in oral fluid for up to 12 hours after vaporization. You must note that this is highly variable and there could be a potential detection of THC long after that.

However, emerging studies show little enhance in crash risk with low blood THC concentrations. Those Australians who are currently driving laws do not take this into account.

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