Everyday Australians are finding about the cannabis medicine as a way to treat chronic pain, epilepsy, arthritis and more, but how hard is it to gain access to medicinal marijuana?
Your regular doctor can refer you to a cannabis clinic where you can be prescribed medicinal marijuana. Australian medicinal cannabis laws allow patients with a medical condition lasting more than 3 months to apply. Medical cannabis generally costs $4-15 per day. Cannabis clinics generally charge $200-300 for consultations.
Australia’s process for patients to gain access to medicinal cannabis is easier than its ever been. Each year the legalisation changes to streamline the process for patients in need to easily get access to medicinal marijuana. The current five step process includes your GP, a reference, a clinic and a pharmacy.
The current process to gain access to Cannabis in most states is:
1) Discussion and referral by General Practitioner(GP) to a Medical Cannabis Clinic
2) Phone interview with Medical Cannabis Clinic (eligibility test)
3) Two to three consultancy sessions with the Specialist doctor
4) Approval application with the TGA to gain access to Medical Cannabis
5) Your pharmacy will order and send you medicinal cannabis via courier
Australia’s new laws, starting with Western Australia, are making ripples in the Medical Cannabis industry in Australia by:
Lowering patient spending on treatment
Introducing new legislation that authorises your local General Practitioner (GP) to prescribe
Medical Cannabis program to educate doctors on the benefits of Cannabis
Promoting the production and use of Australian Medical Cannabis Products
What does this mean for Australian Patients seeking Medical Cannabis?
What used to take up to 6 months can now only take as long as a discussion with your local GP and the TGA application approval. Western Australians now expect to wait between 2-6 weeks for full access to Medical Cannabis.
2020 is the best year to gain access to premium-grade Medical Cannabis at affordable prices. Now more than ever, a higher number of cheaper Cannabis products are emerging into the Australian market (FreshLeaf Analytics Statistics).
There are over 70 Medical Cannabis products available in Australia for your local GP to prescribe (40% increase in 2019).
The average spending by patients has reduced b 13% over the second half of 2019. The average daily spending on Medical Cannabis in Australia is between $5-10 per day
FreshLeaf has shown that 55% of Medical Cannabis patients in Australia spend $11 or less. Treatment is at a reasonable level, and it could be as low as $5 a day with more Australian products emerging.
HealthyWA explains in detail who can prescribe and supply Medicinal Cannabis legally. The supplier of Cannabis may have local Australian grown Medicinal Marijuana or imported product. Australian Cannabis products are the cheapest in the market as of Q3 2019.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Cannabis
The cost of medicinal marijuana
Question: Do private health funds cover the cost of medical marijuana?
Answer: Some do, but it is rarely covered by private health funds. The largest health funds in Australia do not cover this due to it still being an “illegal substance”.
Question: Does PBS (compassionate access/use scheme) cover cannabis?
Answer: Unfortunately not. This may change in the future when legislation around cannabis relaxes.
Question: Does the Medicare rebate cover cannabis?
Answer: At some clinics there may be medical rebates available, but this is not as common as we would like. Most of the cannabis clinic phone and general consultations are not covered as of yet.
Question: Why are cannabis clinic consultations so expensive?
Answer: Compared to other specialists that are covered by private health funds and medicare, these consulations are priced at a more affordable rate ($50-200). The doctors are medical professionals and this covers their time.
Question: Why are medical cannabis products so expensive?
Answer: Cannabis, dry herb, CBD and THC oils are unfortunately not covered by most health funds. Each year since legalisation, as more facilities producing medical cannabis, the prices get lower and lower. Currently the daily cost of medical marijuana is between $4-20.
Cannabis, CBD and THC
Question: What is CBD?
Answer: Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is the medical non-psychoactive (non-intoxicating) compound found in cannabis. It has broad medical applications and is used in the majority of medicinal marijuana products in Australia. Learn more about CBD here!
Question: What is THC?
Answer: Tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, is the medical psychoactive (intoxicating and euphoric effect) compound found in cannabis. It has a strong pain killer, anti-nausea, relaxing properties the greatly assist in treating chemotherapy symptoms, arthritis, epilepsy and more.
Medicinal cannabis dosage
Question: How much CBD or THC oil should I take?
Answer: When prescribed medicinal cannabis, your doctor will advise you on the frequency and dosage. Each patient is different, so following the advice of a medical professional is important.
Question: Can I overdose or take too much medicinal cannabis?
Answer: There are no records of anyone in the world overdosing on cannabis. You may feel uncomfortable when going above the recommended dosage, as prescribed. Find a quiet and comfortable space and relax, as medicinal cannabis is supposed to encourage the body to calm down.
James is an experienced writer and legal cannabis advocate in Australia. He answers all the questions about business, legalisation and medicinal cannabis.
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