Along with other nations and countries, Perth and Western Australia has opened its doors to the benefits of medical cannabis and CBD Oil. It is seen as a beneficial alternative to common over-the-counter prescribed medications for specific chronic ailments. For medical cannabis, however, it is not listed under therapeutic goods, similar to those of commonly prescribed drugs and medicine. Because it belongs in a different category, acquiring medical cannabis entails a different system for patients to legally obtain it in Western Australia.
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Cannabis-based products in Western Australia
As listed by the Department of Health of the Government of Western Australia, cannabis-based products can be listed in Schedule 8, intended for medical research purposes, and contains cannabis, derived from cannabis, and contains cannabinoid substances. These substances are included in the list of controlled drugs in Schedule 8, which means dispensing, labelling, packaging, storage, transport, and all other related activities with these substances are to be controlled in adherence to the Code at all times.
For medical practitioners and patients who would like to access medicinal cannabis and cannabis-based products, the process of obtaining Schedule 8 drugs are not like ordinary prescription drugs and medication. It entails approval and notification from both the Commonwealth and the State, through its concerned authoritative bodies.
How To Access Medical Cannabis and CBD Oil in Perth
The process of getting a prescription and to legally obtain medical cannabis and cannabis-based products in Western Australia start with the medical practitioner and the patient. Together, they should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using cannabis as a treatment for a specific condition or symptom, in accordance with the Code. A thorough discussion including clinical findings and research outcomes should be shared to give an even better understanding of the substance and to create a realistic expectation from the treatment.
Upon reaching an agreement, the next topic to be discussed is the preferred cannabis-based drug to be used, the dosage, and all other details pertaining to the medication to be prescribed and obtained. It is important to take into consideration the drug’s availability in Western Australia, its cost, and its possible side effects or drug interactions if taken with other prescription drugs.
Authorised by the patient, the medical practitioner is to go through the TGA or the Therapeutic Goods Administration of the Department of Health to obtain legitimate access to cannabis-based products as indicated under Schedule 8. The government has established different means for medical practitioners and patients to obtain the drug, which are:
● AP, also known as Authorised Prescriber Scheme
● SAS or known as Special Access Scheme, and
● Clinical trials
When applying through the TGA, online portals are readily available to facilitate the ease in lodging application and other requirements needed for the approval. With the newly launched SAS online system, medical practitioners can automatically lodge medicinal cannabis applications to both the Commonwealth and the concerned State or Territory Health Department at the same time.
However, if the applications are to be lodged in the traditional paper-format, the medical practitioner is to coordinate with the Department of Health of the Government of Western Australia to be informed of the requirements and forms needed to authorise or notify of the medical cannabis treatment.
Once both the approval from the Commonwealth and the notification from the Department of Health of the State are both clear, the medical practitioner can issue the said prescription bearing the medical cannabis for the patient to obtain from a local pharmacy or retailer. If the patient is to import medicinal cannabis from abroad, make sure that the said drug is registered with the TGA and check if it meets all the standards set for medication and substances in Australia.
Since the launch of the online portal for SAS applications back in July 2018, more and more patients in Perth and Western Sydney are opting to choose medical cannabis and CBD Oil products as an alternative for the treatment of their chronic condition and other long-term symptoms. Getting the prescription for medicinal cannabis requires more forms and more work compared to any other common prescription drug, but its natural benefits are indeed worth a try. Especially for patients with chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and those suffering from nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy treatment in cancer patients, medical cannabis might just hold the key to a better quality of life and to a more positive approach to wellness.
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