With more Australians seeking medical cannabis and CBD Oil products, medical practitioners and health care professionals can now prescribe medical marijuana in Melbourne and across Victoria. CBD products in Victoria are not as readily available for patients, unlike common prescription drugs. The Special Access Scheme (SAS) rolled out across Australia allows patients to legally gain a license to access CBD Oil products and medical Cannabis
The Therapeutic Goods Administration, also known as TGA, is officially tasked by the government to regulate access to all medical goods, including medical marijuana. It is a division of the Australian Department of Health that was established back in 1989 through the signed Therapeutic Goods Act. The TGA is in charge of overall therapeutic goods’ importation, supply, manufacturing, export, and advertising.
The majority of products containing medical cannabis, and CBD (Cannabidiol) in particular, are not included in the official list of the Australian Registered Therapeutic Goods or ARTG, which means it cannot be prescribed by a general doctor or a general practitioner nor could it be bought at a regular pharmacy just like any other conventional registered medicine.
Applying for Medical Cannabis in Victoria
In Victoria, the Department of Health and Human Services is seen as the forefront agency which deals with treatment, medication, and the general well-being of all residents in the state. To be able to obtain medical marijuana and CBD Oil, the patient must have a consultation with the attending physician and both parties must agree that it is indeed a suitable treatment or drug for the given medical condition. The physician is then the one who must on the patient’s behalf to gain access to medical marijuana, through submitting a duly filled application form to the concerned government agencies. Once the doctor is able to get all necessary permissions, the prescription is then given to the patient who can freely be dispensed the prescribed amount, dosage, type, and form of medical cannabis and CBD product.
The Office of Medicinal Cannabis, which is under the Department of Health and Human Services, is the primary authority that can give assistance and advice to those who are trying to gain access to medicinal cannabis within Victoria.
The Office of Medicinal Cannabis is part of the Department of Health and Human Services and provides advice on access to medicinal cannabis in Victoria.
The Reality of Accessing Medical Marijuana in Victoria
In the current setting in Victoria, many doctors hesitate to prescribe medical cannabis and CBD Oil porducts and they do not feel confident in going through both applications for the prescription, due to the extensive admin work of going to TGA and the Health Department of the State or Territory, doctors tend to shy away from applying for a permit or an approved license. In turn, there are fewer patients than expected who can benefit from medical marijuana’s benefits and advantages.
With a different process in sourcing and prescribing unlisted medication such as medical marijuana, Australian physicians are placed in a tough position as they seldom feel inadequately informed regarding marijuana and its beneficial uses in the medical field, simultaneously having to justify their decision on why medical marijuana is their recommendation of best best option for their patients. Adding to this, doctors are simply unable to closely monitor the patient’s condition and treatment progress after having started the administration of medical cannabis, with many variables to consider.
Overall, getting access to medical marijuana allows more patients to take advantage of hemp plant’s natural benefits. Medical cannabis has been commercially distributed as part of epidiolex that is indicated for patients suffering from seizures and dronabinol for frequent episodes of nausea and vomiting for cancer treatment. Like conventional medicine, medical marijuana can be directly sourced from reputable pharmaceutical companies, such as Tilray, who are widely present in the markets in the US, Canada, and Australia.
When considering medical cannabis for yourself, make sure to be fully informed and take time to explain to your doctor about the benefits of medical cannabis compared to traditional treatment and medicine you are taking. As a patient, you are entitled to medical advice but be prepared to explain how medical cannabis might just be the solution to your medical condition by doing your own research.
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