Medical marijuana in Australia
Mid adult male doctor holding digital tablet with colleague and receptionist standing in background

Medical marijuana or medicinal cannabis is derived from the plant known as cannabis Sativa where the leaves and buds are also utilized in making the drug marijuana that people use recreationally to get high. The medicinal cannabis is presented as a nasal spray, oil, pill, or sometimes as a cannabis plant extract. The product is currently and has been researched around the world for its potential assistance in solving various health conditions.

However, it is used and highly controlled and regulated by the Australian authorities. Medicinal cannabis is said to relieve pain, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and reduce epilepsy spasms or migraine headaches as it contains cannabinoids that act on the endocannabinoid system of the body.

An individual in Australia cannot access the administration of Therapeutic Goods of Australia (TGA) to acquire unapproved medicinal marijuana. The access can only be ensured by consulting with a registered health practitioner in Australia where the authorization or approval is carried out based on a case-by-case.

People in Australia can access medicinal marijuana online through various websites such as (https://balnce.health/) which have experienced medical doctors. Moreover, the website gives the users a chance to consult with the doctors online to explore various options and come up with the most appropriate treatment for specific circumstances or conditions.

The medicinal cannabis treatment may help in the management of various conditions, according to https://balnce.health/. Such conditions are; chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, stress, anxiety, mood disorder, epilepsy, pelvic pain, cancer, endocannabinoid system rebalancing, inflammation, nausea, endometriosis, neuropathic pain, and sleep and insomnia. Furthermore, the user is required to find out if they are eligible for cannabis treatment and attend the telehealth consultation prior to receiving the treatment plan from the practitioner.

According to (https://anandaprofessional.com/), there are various ways in which medicinal cannabis is ingested into the body. For instance, placed under the tongue due to its high bioavailability thus it is easily taken into the bloodstream. Other people prefer taking it orally where it may take more time compared to the former but it has prolonged effects.

However, the product may lead to several side effects such as dizziness, difficulty in concentration, issues with memory and thinking, a problem with balance, and drowsiness. Some of these side effects may compromise daily working and driving. Please check with you state regulations for advice on this.

The use of medicinal marijuana has been rapidly increasing over the years since the federal law allowed the product. There were more than eighteen thousand patients who were able to access the product by the end of the year 2019 who were prescribed by more than 1465 approved medical practitioners.

As of the year 2020, there were about, 4500 approvals per month indicating numerous approvals compared to the number of patients (https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/prescribing-medicinal-cannabis). Therefore, the numbers reflect a great repeat in the application for the same patients, as the approval is usually provided for only one year.

Medicinal marijuana products are dispensed to consumers by pharmacies in Australia. Moreover, the dispensing pharmacies are required to critically understand the products and have clear communication with the prescriber as well as the patient.

Besides, there is always a titration of dose during the first therapy weeks and therefore it should be discussed with the patient. However, the supply chain may lead to issues in accessing products that are specified by the Special Access Scheme Category B(SAS-B) application. It is therefore necessary to carry out clinical re-evaluation to establish accessibility to available products and enable the application for a new SAS-B permit for the established product.

References

Chiu, V., Chan, G., Hall, W., Hides, L., Lim, C., & Leung, J. (2021). Personal correlates of support for medical and recreational cannabis legalization in Australia. Frontiers in psychiatry12, 202.

https://anandaprofessional.com/

https://balnce.health

https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/prescribing-medicinal-cannabis/https://phenixhealth.com.au/medicinal-cannabis/