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Medicinal cannabis: Information for consumers

25 September 2020

If you’re wondering whether medicinal cannabis might be right for your condition, your first step is to have a conversation with your doctor.

This page provides information and resources about how the TGA provides safe and legal access to medicinal cannabis products in appropriate circumstances.

Access to medicinal cannabis

Individual consumers cannot apply to the TGA to obtain access to unapproved medicinal cannabis products. Access can only be arranged through an Australian registered health practitioner. Approval or authorisation is granted on a case-by-case basis. The video below provides an overview of consumer access to medicinal cannabis.

Transcript

So you’ve heard about medicinal cannabis.

Maybe you’re wondering if it's right for your condition.

Speak to your doctor about your health concerns.

Your doctor will consider treatment options...

and they may decide that a medicinal cannabis product is suitable for your needs.

Most medicinal cannabis products are not approved medicines in Australia.

This means the Therapeutic Goods Administration (or TGA) has not assessed them for safety, quality or effectiveness.

But sometimes there are no approved medicines that meet a patient’s needs.

That’s why any doctor can apply to the TGA for special access to unapproved medicines such as medicinal cannabis.

They’ll hear back within two business days.

Some doctors have applied to become Authorised Prescribers, which means they don’t need approval from the TGA for each individual patient.

If your doctor gives you a prescription for a medicinal cannabis product, you will need to take it to a pharmacy.

Medicinal cannabis products aren’t stocked in most pharmacies, so your pharmacist may need to order it in.

You should also know that medicinal cannabis products are not subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme; the supplier sets the cost.

Beware of buying online.

You could break the law and get an unsafe product.

Legal access to medicinal cannabis means getting a prescription from your doctor and filling the prescription at your pharmacy.

If you have any questions, speak with your doctor.

You can also find out more on the TGA website.

The following printable resource also provides an overview of consumer access to medicinal cannabis.

Additional information and resources

The TGA has a range of consumer resources about medicinal cannabis:

If you have any other questions about medicinal cannabis products, please talk to your doctor for advice.