Australia Medical Marijuana Doctor Information
In Australia, medicinal cannabis changed to a Controlled Drug on 1 November 2016 in the Poisons Standard. A down scheduling occurred, taking medicinal cannabis from a Schedule 9 Prohibited Substance to a Schedule 8 Controlled Drug.
The Australian Government is responsible for granting qualifying patients access to medical cannabis products, on the basis of certain medical conditions where evidence supports cannabis use. Naturally, all rules and regulations in regard to medicinal cannabis may be different depending on the state or territory, potentially affecting the access of cannabis products in various jurisdictions.
“Medicinal cannabis products” is a term meant to describe a wide range of cannabis products that are intended to be used for therapeutic use. This includes oils, tinctures, extracts and other pharmaceutical cannabis preparations.
Australia’s medicinal cannabis products will be regulated by the Commonwealth Department of Health through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Office of Drug Control (ODC).
The Therapeutic Goods Administration regulates manufacturing procedures, ensuring they are conducted in a manner that results in high-quality medicinal cannabis products. The TGA assesses the quality, safety, and efficiency of medicinal cannabis products before entering in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), and, in certain circumstances, provides access to medicinal cannabis products that have not been approved for use. The TGA also has a hand in the scheduling of medicines, including medicinal cannabis.
How do Australian Patients Access Medicinal Cannabis Products?
Due to Australia's law regulating medicinal cannabis as a controlled substance, medicinal cannabis manufacturers and health professionals need to be in communication in order to supply patients with medical cannabis. Medicinal cannabis products are regulated as medicines, and like all medicines imported, manufactured, supplied, and exported from Australia it must be processed through the ARTG, a registry that is overseen by the TGA.
Because medicinal cannabis remains an unapproved drug, the ways in which Australian patients can access are limited. This means potential patients would require one of the following schemes:
Authorised Prescriber Scheme, in which a medical practitioner is granted authority as an authorised prescriber of medicinal cannabis. In order to become an authorised prescriber:
- The medical practitioner must have the expertise and training in both the condition being treated and medicinal cannabis,
- Must be able to determine the specific needs of the patient,
- Must monitor the outcome of the therapy.
An authorised prescriber is allowed to supply medicinal cannabis products directly to qualifying patients that are under their immediate care. Once approved as an Authorised Prescriber, there is no need to notify the TGA when prescribing medicinal cannabis products, though practitioners must submit a report every six months detailing the numbers of patients treated with medicinal cannabis. To become an Authorised Prescriber, visit: http://www.tga.gov.au/how-become-authorised-prescriber
Special Access Scheme (SAS), in which a doctor applies on behalf of a patient for approval to import and supply medicinal cannabis products. The application must be done for Category B. If approved, patients need not rely on their doctor to supply them with medicinal cannabis products, but get their supply directly from other imports.
How to become an “Authorised Prescriber” (Australiana Medical Marijuana Doctor)?
Currently, Australia is in the process of developing educational materials in consultation with the states and territories in hopes to determine whether medicinal cannabis is appropriate and beneficial. When completed, these educational materials shall provide more insight on how best navigate the current access schemes.
As Australia continues to refine granting access, all Australian registered medical doctors interested in accessing medicinal cannabis products for treatment of their patients should arrange the following:
- Determine the legislative requirements in their respective state or territory.
- Fill out an Authorised Prescriber Scheme application.
- Apply for a license to import medical cannabis products (if necessary).
- Adhere to all conditions of approval and authorization for developing regulations and requirements.
Though the access to medicinal cannabis products will vary depending on the state and territory, patients and doctors throughout Australia should see the legislation in their jurisdiction. From Perth, Albany, Warburton, and Cervantes in Western Australia, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, and Port Augusta in South Australia, Melbourne in Victoria, Sydney in New South Wales, and Brisbane in Queensland.
Australia, or Commonwealth of Australia, is a country that comprises the mainland of the continent of Australia, the island of Tasmania, and various other small islands. By total area, Australia is the sixth largest country in the world. During the late 18th century, the first British settlement claimed the land and initially used it as a penal transportation to their colony of New South Wales. Through the decades, the population grew steadily and in 1901 the six colonies formed to create Commonwealth of Australia, establishing a liberal democratic political system since that federation. Australia is known for ranking high in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties, and health.