Medical cannabis is now a viable and legal treatment option for many Queenslanders. Authorised doctors can prescribe medicinal cannabis to patients to assist in the treatment of various health conditions. Even though medical cannabis has been legalised across the country, certain regulations may differ from state to state. Keeping up with the latest rules and state legislation assists patients, doctors, and pharmacists in making educated decisions about healthcare.

Is medical cannabis legal in Queensland?

Medical cannabis has been legal in Queensland since 2016. This decision came as part of Australia-wide legislation that made the prescription and consumption of cannabis acceptable when medically or scientifically appropriate. Patients may now access cannabis prescriptions through authorised medical practitioners. Even with these new laws, the production, distribution, and consumption of medicinal cannabis is still heavily regulated by state health authorities.

Medical cannabis prescriptions in QLD

Doctors may prescribe medical cannabis if they believe it will benefit a patient’s medical condition. Schedule 4 cannabidiol (CBD) and Schedule 8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be prescribed without government approval. However, unregistered cannabis medicines still need approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) through the Special Access or Authorised Prescriber Scheme. There are also several regulatory requirements regarding prescriptions, like the Medicines and Poisons Regulation 2021.

Medical cannabis supply in Queensland

Only licensed businesses can manufacture or supply medicinal cannabis in Queensland. These licenses come from the Office of Drug Control (ODC), permitting businesses to cultivate, import, or export medicinal cannabis products. All products supplied in Queensland must also meet the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. This ensures therapeutic goods are high quality and safe for medicinal use. For wholesale supply, you’ll need a wholesaling licence as well.

Medical cannabis eligibility in Queensland

Any approved medical practitioner in Queensland may prescribe cannabis if they feel it will benefit your condition. If you have tried other medications for your condition without improvement, your doctor may suggest adding medicinal cannabis to your treatment plan. To gain approval for the prescription, your doctor simply needs to provide evidence to support using medicinal cannabis for your condition. They may ask questions about your medical history and current health status to ensure you receive the right product for your treatment.

Medical cannabis in workplaces QLD

Many workplaces in Queensland may prohibit the use of products containing THC during or after work, even with a prescription. This is because THC is known to have psychoactive effects, which may inhibit cognitive function and impact work performance. If you are required to drive for work, please note it is illegal to drive with THC in your system, even if you are not impaired. However, some workplaces may allow CBD-only treatments, as they lack the psychoactive component of THC medicines. It’s important to discuss your company’s individual drug testing policies with your employer before undergoing treatment with medicinal cannabis. Employers are required to address medicinal cannabis treatment in the same manner as any employee using prescription medicines. They may ask you to supply further information regarding your prescription or even a doctor’s note confirming your ability to perform daily work duties.

Travelling with medical cannabis in Queensland

As long as you hold a valid prescription, it’s generally acceptable to travel with medical cannabis within Queensland. You should also be able to travel interstate as long as you have the correct documentation, such as your prescription information or a letter from your doctor. When travelling, you’ll need to keep your cannabis in the same bottle or container it came in, ensuring all labels and relevant information are intact and readable. If you’re planning to travel overseas, research your destination’s drug policies very carefully. Some countries consider cannabis to be an illegal substance, even with a valid Australian prescription.

Driving with medical cannabis in QLD

It is illegal to drive in Queensland with any amount of THC in your system. Since THC could affect your cognitive function, it’s unsafe to drive or operate heavy machinery. Unfortunately, the police roadside testing for cannabis does not test for impairment, just if THC is present. THC often takes days, or even weeks, to fully excrete from your system. You can drive while undergoing treatment with CBD only medication. Please note that many CBD oil products obtained illicitly online can still contain THC. If you rely on driving for daily activities, such as getting to work, consult with your doctor about treatment options and ensure your medication label is accurate by purchasing CBD via the legal pathways. 

Medical cannabis cost in Queensland

Medical cannabis can cost up to $250 or $300 a month in Queensland. Unfortunately, cannabis medicines are not covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), so you’ll likely need to pay the full cost of your product. The exact costs depend on the supplier, shipping prices, and dispensing fees. Some health insurers have started including cannabis medicines in their extras coverage, but this is a relatively new exception, and not all announce coverage, so contact your insurer directly to understand what rebate you may be eligible for. 

Medical cannabis pharmacies in QLD

Once you receive a prescription for medical cannabis, you should be able to have it filled at any pharmacy in Queensland. The pharmacy will need to confirm your prescription’s validity and check that your prescriber holds the required permits or approvals. The Medicines and Poisons Act 2019 and the Medicines and Poisons Regulation 2021 provide information to pharmacists about cannabis storage, packaging, labelling, and dispensing for Schedule 4 and 8 medicines. As a pharmacist, you must comply with the Queensland Department Standard – Monitored medicines when dispensing Schedule 8 medical cannabis products.

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Medical cannabis across Australia

In the Australian Capital Territory, medicinal cannabis is allowed on a case-by-case basis. In appropriate situations, you may possess, distribute, and consume cannabis with the correct license, permit, or prescription.  To prescribe medicinal cannabis, doctors need to have approval from both the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the ACT chief health officer. This is separate from the ACT’s changes to state laws in 2020, allowing the use of cannabis for personal use in certain amounts.

We’ve broken down all the rules and regulations for residents of the Australian Capital Territory.

Medical Cannabis in the ACT

Medicinal cannabis is legal in New South Wales in medical and scientific situations. Doctors can prescribe it when necessary with TGA approval. The government has also established the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation to conduct community education and keep track of clinical trials.

Medical Cannabis in NSW

In the Northern Territory, medicinal cannabis is legal with a prescription. In November 2019, the first NT resident received a medicinal cannabis prescription.  However, many patients in the NT will need to find a telehealth doctor in another state because there are few authorised prescribers based locally, and the area’s remote nature makes it difficult for residents to travel to the right doctors.

Medical Cannabis in NT

You can get medicinal cannabis in South Australia with a prescription. The prescription needs to come from an authorised SA medical practitioner. In some cases, the practitioner must seek approval under South Australian Controlled Substances legislation. This approval is subject to exceptions such as elderly people or terminally ill patients.

Medical Cannabis in SA

Medical practitioners can prescribe medicinal cannabis in Tasmania if they feel it’s the best course of treatment for a patient. To do this, they must acquire approval from the Commonwealth and state authorities.

Medical Cannabis in TAS

In the state of Victoria, medicinal cannabis is legal when prescribed by a doctor or nurse practitioner, usually with Commonwealth or state approval. Medicinal cannabis is prescribed when the doctor feels it will be beneficial to the patient. Beginning in 2022, practitioners can prescribe Schedule 8 medicinal cannabis to non-drug dependent patients without a Schedule 8 treatment permit.

Medical Cannabis in VIC

Prescriptions for medicinal cannabis can be given by any prescriber in WA if they have the appropriate government approval. Prescriptions need to align with the Medicines and Poisons legislation. As long as a WA-based medical practitioner provides your prescription, it can be dispensed at any pharmacy in the state.

Medicinal Cannabis in Perth & WA
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