In Australia, the Department of Health regulates the supply and use of therapeutic goods. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Office of Drug Control (ODC) are the two regulatory bodies.
Medicinal cannabis and CBD oil products are Schedule 8 and Schedule 4 drugs, respectively. Drugs under these classifications require doctors to have special permission to prescribe these items. Patient(s) must also get approval or to use them from an authorized medical practitioner. Access to cannabis products is, therefore, a complicated process.
With these restrictions, you’ll need a green thumb if you’re looking for an easy and pocket-friendly route to medicinal cannabis and CBD oil products. Before you rush off to buy cannabis seeds, you should know a few things.
Growing Cannabis In Australia
Cannabis farmers require licenses from the ODC as well as various permits, import, and export licenses and TGA approvals. In addition, each state has different laws and regulations that govern the use and access to medical cannabis. These documents are mandatory if you want to stay on the right side of the law.
The maximum penalty for cultivating cannabis without the right approvals is severe. You’re looking at a 10 to 20 years prison sentence. The exact term depends on the quantity cultivated. Ouch!
If you have no desire to take up farming or engage in running battles with the authorities, don’t worry. There’s another way to obtain CBD or THC products.
The Special Access Scheme (SAS)
The Special Access Scheme (SAS) allows for the import and supply of unapproved therapeutic goods that are not on the ARTG. The creation of this access channel comes after mounting demand for clinical trials and patient access.
To participate in SAS, medical practitioners must adhere to strict requirements. Here are a few examples of the rules.
- Doctors can only make applications for patients under the supervision of a licensed medical professional.
- SAS requests are for single patients on a case by case basis.
- The use of therapeutic goods approved via SAS must be clinically justified and considered experimental.
- Doctors must obtain written informed consent from participating patients.
Three Main Categories Of The SAS
SAS Category A – For Seriously Ill Patients
Seriously ill patients are those whose medical issues may result in premature death without early treatment. This option is available to prescribing medical practitioner or to health practitioner on behalf of a prescribing medical practitioner. TGA approval is not required before the unapproved product may be accessed and supplied to the patient.
SAS Category B – For Patients Ineligible For Category B
This option is available to health practitioners whose patients who do not fit the criteria for Category A. Doctors must have approval from the TGA before prescribing any products to their patients.
Requests in this category must include the specific condition the patient has. Doctors must also indicate the particular drug they wish to obtain and justify the clinical need for it. Information supporting the use of the product is also required. Doctors must also note how they will monitor their patient’s reactions to the treatment. The TGA requires reports on any adverse events, adverse reactions, serious adverse reactions, and unexpected reactions.
SAS Category C – Approval To Supply Unapproved Therapeutic Goods
This category makes provisions for therapeutic goods with an established history of use. The TGA maintains a list of qualifying drugs, so advance approval is not necessary for items in this group. Health practitioners must, however, notify the TGA within four weeks once they start supplying a drug that falls in this category.
Where To Begin Your Medicinal Cannabis Or CBD Oil Journey
Start with your doctor. They are a professional that is fully aware of your overall health history and any conditions that you have.
Your doctor is also up-to-date on all medications that are currently prescribed to you and all the other therapies you are taking part in.
This information puts them in the best position to advise you on using medicinal cannabis or CBD Oil.
To facilitate the conversation about THC or CBD use with your doctor, you should prepare answers to the following questions.
- What condition/illness do you have?
- What are your symptoms?
- When and how often do your symptoms occur?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What drugs or treatment therapies have you tried?
- Did any of your drugs or treatment help your condition/illness?
- Did any of your drugs or treatment cause side effects?
- Have you tried cannabis products before, and did it help your condition in any way?
- What amount of cannabis have you used and how often did you use it?
- Which symptoms do you believe cannabis can help you better manage?
Commonly Asked Questions About Cannabis, Medicinal MJ, And CBD
What Is The Difference Between CBD Oil And Medicinal MJ?
Medicinal MJ contains a high ratio of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the most abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis and the primary psychoactive ingredient. THC is the compound that’s responsible for the plant’s well-known effects, including a euphoric “high.” CBD oil is an extract of raw, CBD-rich cannabis plant material and contains little to no THC.
Does CBD Cause Euphoria?
CBD does not cause you to feel high or euphoric as it has no psychoactive properties.
Is Cannabis Use Legal In Australia?
Recreational cannabis use is currently illegal in Australia. You can only use medicinal cannabis or CBD Oil for therapeutic purposes. CBD oil must contain at least 98 percent CBD.
What Are The Benefits Of Medical Cannabis And CBD Oil?
Medical cannabis may be beneficial for certain conditions, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, nausea, vomiting, and chronic pain. CBD Oil may help reduce and alleviate the symptoms of depression, anxiety, acne, heart disease, epilepsy, and arthritis, among others.
How Much Does Medicinal Cannabis Cost?
The costs vary as it depends on the nature of the condition being treated, the particular product required, and the prescribed dose.
Will CBD Show Up In A Blood Test Or Oral Swab Test?
No. CBD will not show up in a blood test or oral swab test. Those tests do not screen for CBD, only THC. There’s no need for concern if you are using products made with pure CBD (isolate). Full-spectrum CBD products contain a negligible amount of THC (below 0.3%). Always check the percentage of THC in full-spectrum CBD products to avoid failing a drug test.
Is It Ok To Drive After Taking Medicinal Cannabis?
You should not drive or operate heavy machinery after taking medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis may cause side effects, such as difficulty with concentration, dizziness, drowsiness, loss of balance, and problems with thinking and memory.
What Is The Entourage Effect?
The entourage effects refer to a phenomenon where cannabis compounds work better together than on their own. To experience this effect, you need to use cannabis products made from full plant extracts. They are also known as whole-plant extracts. These products contain terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids capable of working synergistically.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Take?
Your effective CBD dose depends on a range of factors. These include your body weight, body chemistry, and the condition you’re treating. Your doctor will use these to determine an appropriate dosage. Once established, it’s important to stick to their recommendation to avoid unpleasant side effects.
Do CBD Oil and Medicinal MJ Have Side Effects?
Sides effects are rare. Some people may experience dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, reduced coordination, cognitive, or balance impairment after taking medicinal MJ. Other side effects may also include euphoria, paranoia, hallucinations, changes in mood, panic, anxiety, diarrhea, or skin rash, among others. Side effects of CBD are also few, and their occurrences are not common. Some people may have diarrhea, appetite changes, and fatigue.
Can Any Doctor Prescribe Medicinal Cannabis?
Yes, any medical practitioner with the necessary approvals can prescribe medicinal cannabis products for their patient.
What Should I Do If My Doctor Is Reluctant To Prescribe Medicinal Cannabis?
Doctors have a duty of care to their patients. Despite widespread anecdotal claims, medicinal cannabis medicine is still an experimental therapy. Your doctor may be reluctant to prescribe this medicine as they are not yet satisfied with the research. They may also not have the time to fill out all the necessary SAS forms required to prescribe it legally. If you and your doctor cannot get on the same page, find another medical provider.
Where Can I Find A List Of Manufacturers And Suppliers of Medicinal Cannabis Products?
The Office of Drug Control (ODC) maintains and publishes a list of approved importers and manufacturers of medicinal cannabis products on its website. You can find it here.