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For patients

Who is eligible to obtain medicinal cannabis?

Medicinal cannabis can only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner.

Before prescribing medicinal cannabis, the doctor will assess each patient to decide if the treatment is appropriate for their condition and individual circumstances. The doctor will take a medical history and a family health history. The doctor will also consider the patient’s current medications and any problems with drug dependence and substance abuse.

With the exception of one product (nabiximols), medicinal cannabis products are not registered medicines in Australia, so they must be accessed through special pathways available for unapproved medicines.

Individual consumers cannot apply to TGA to obtain approval to access unapproved medicinal cannabis products. Such access can only be arranged through an Australian-registered medical practitioner with appropriate qualifications and/or expertise for the medical condition requiring treatment. This doctor can notify/apply on the patient’s behalf for approval to import and supply these products through the Special Access Scheme (SAS Category A or B). Alternatively, the doctor can apply to us to become an Authorised Prescriber (AP). Approval or authorisation is granted on a case-by-case basis.

This doctor must also apply and obtain approval under the applicable state or territory laws to prescribe a medicinal cannabis product to a particular patient, where relevant. Rules relating to medicinal cannabis products vary between states and territories and could affect whether or not you can be prescribed particular medicines in your state or territory.

If both state and TGA requirements are satisfied then the pharmacy or hospital that the doctor has arranged to supply the product can dispense it. The medicinal cannabis products may already be available in Australia if the Office of Drug Control has authorised their import. The Office of Drug Control website- external site gives a list of companies who have been authorised to import medicinal cannabis stock into Australia for supply through SAS approvals or AP authorisation. Please note that inclusion on this list does not guarantee stock availability or automatic approval for patient access by the TGA or the states and territories.

Should the product requested not be authorised to be held in Australia then the doctor (or pharmacist/hospital on the doctor’s behalf) wishing to import the product may then need to obtain import permits from the Office of Drug Control.