Procedure & Treatment Library

Medicinal Cannabis

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. Our Pain Specialist will determine whether this therapy is appropriate based on your condition and individual circumstances.

If you are suitable, Medicinal Cannabis products are trialed for a three-month period to determine your response. If you report adequate pain relief with minimal side effects, then longer term prescription may be warranted and it is at this point where our Pain Specialist will handover to your treating GP to continue with the ongoing prescription.

Medicinal Cannabis products are not registered medications in Australia and access is tightly regulated. It is important to note that no Medicinal Cannabis products are subsidised through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This means that you must be prepared to self-fund the full cost of the prescription. The cost may vary depending on the recommended product and you can be further advised regarding this by your dispensing pharmacist.

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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