Medical cannabis is legal in Australia via a prescription but almost all available cannabis medicines are still considered ‘unapproved products’. This means the pathways to access are different from usual medications and the prescribing doctor will need to take a few additional steps before they can write you a prescription. This is done via the ‘Special Access Scheme’ (SAS) managed by the Australian pharmaceutical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

If you are in Perth or regional Western Australia and would like to know more above accessing medical cannabis the first step is a discussion with your doctor.

What is medical/medicinal cannabis?        

Medical cannabis, also called medical marijuana, refers to the use of the cannabis plant and its component cannabinoids (such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD)).

It acts on the endocannabinoid system within the body and is known to affect a wide range of physiologic processes. Unlike recreational cannabis, medical cannabis is carefully formulated with specific ratios with THC and CBD to treat various chronic conditions.

CBD oil (medical cannabis without THC) is a commonly prescribed formulation and doesn’t give the ‘high’ associated with THC.

Medical cannabis is typically manufactured from the flowering head of the cannabis plant which contains the highest concentration of cannabinoids. This is different to hemp oil, which in Australia is derived from pressing hemp seeds that contain no significant amounts of cannabinoids.

Why medicinal cannabis over illegal cannabis?

The two main differences between medical cannabis and illegal cannabis* are the level of quality control and consistency and the visibility of cannabinoid content, such as THC and CBD. Illegal cannabis is not subject to quality or testing requirements. In contrast, medical cannabis in Australia is highly regulated to ensure patient safety and consistency of product formulation. Please note: any medical cannabis products, including CBD-only products, that can be purchased online without a prescription are considered illegal as they do not comply with Australian regulation.

In addition, illegal cannabis may also contain microbes, pesticides or other contaminants that may adversely affect patients.

*’illegal cannabis’ refers to any product which is not tested in a laboratory and regulated by a regulatory medical agency including online CBD sellers.

At Little Green Pharma we manufacture medicinal cannabis which follows Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and ensures the cannabinoid content of THC and CBD in our products is consistent from one batch to another. This is particularly important for patients as they titrate their medicine to an optimal level. If the product chemical composition is not similar each time, it means patients will have to adjust their dose with each new batch of product they receive – which could be frustrating, expensive or serious if they consume too much.

Can I get medicinal cannabis without a prescription?

Medical cannabis in Perth must be prescribed my a doctor or other registered health practitioner.

There are currently no TGA approved products that meet the criteria to be sold over the counter. This means patients wanting to access CBD and other medicinal cannabis products legally, will still require a doctor prescription.

Who can prescribe medicinal cannabis?

Any doctor can prescribe medicinal cannabis in Perth, and Western Australia, and they don’t need additional qualifications. However, as cannabis medicines are mainly unapproved the doctor does need to get approval from the TGA to prescriber medical cannabis products.  

Although they can prescribe, some doctors may be reluctant due to a lack of training, familiarity or due to the application process involved. 

How do I know that medical cannabis will be right for me?

Medicinal cannabis is currently a treatment option for those with a chronic condition, who have not had success with other medicines or have had unwanted side effects because of that medication.

What is the cost of medical cannabis medicine in WA?

The cost of medical cannabis in Perth to patients can vary greatly and depends on a patient’s condition as well as other factors. These include: their endocannabinoid system, the product being prescribed and if the patient is taking other medications in addition to the cannabis medicines.

Some health insurers are now offering rebates on medicinal cannabis prescriptions and the Australian Government has subsidised one medicinal cannabis product (via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) for Dravet Syndrome only. This means that the costs for all other cannabis medicines and doctor consults will need to be covered by patients.

If you are considering medicinal cannabis as a treatment option it is important to consider the costs involved. Some health insurers do offering medicinal cannabis rebates, however this varies depending on your provider and policy so please check with your specific provider to learn more.

How can I buy medical cannabis?

Once you have your prescription and TGA approval documentation from your doctor then you can take this to any pharmacy and ask them to order your medication. If you would like assistance with ordering or finding a pharmacist that does not charge above the recommend retail price then please contact us for assistance on 1300 703 999.

At Little Green Pharma, we’re passionate about helping patients transform their lives for the better.

Your preferred doctor will assess you for treatment. If approved, a prescription will be given to you. Once approved by your doctor, you can order your prescription via our online orders site or your local pharmacy.

Our team is on hand to assist with any questions or quries you may have through out any stage of your medicinal cannabis journey.

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