Medicinal Cannabis may be recommended by a pain specialist to treat chronic (long term pain) if other more conservative pharmacotherapies have failed to manage a patient’s pain and/or to reduce excess medications. The specialist will determine whether this therapy is appropriate based on the patient’s condition and individual circumstances.
Once the Pain Specialist has recommended medicinal cannabis there is a process that needs to be followed. Medicinal cannabis products are not registered medications in Australia, and none are subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), therefore, access is tightly regulated.
Prior to prescribing medicinal cannabis, the prescribing doctor must apply for approval via a special pathway, to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Department of Health. The outcome of this application determines whether medicinal cannabis can be prescribed or not. Individuals cannot apply to the TGA for access.
There are also strict government regulations that the prescribing doctor must follow, including close monitoring of patients through regular consultations at the time a repeat script is required. The authority to prescribe is maintained by the prescribing doctor without the need for an appointment.
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