Helping Australians make an informed choice about Medical Cannabis
GreenChoices is a digital platform that has been specially curated to provide both medical practitioners and patients with unbiased, meaningful educational resources and research to assist in making an informed choice about medical cannabis, including details on how to access this treatment in Australia.
GreenChoices for Patients
Educational resources explaining medical cannabis; current evidence for its use in clinical settings and the process for accessing this treatment.
GreenChoices for Healthcare professionals
A restricted access portal with all the necessary tools for prescribers, including product and dosing information.
The pathway to access in Australia
Doctor consultation with patient
An Australian-registered medical practitioner with appropriate qualifications and/or expertise for the condition requiring treatment will assess a patient to decide if the treatment is appropriate for their condition and circumstances. Currently the advice from the TGA, Australia's pharmaceutical regulatory authority, is that medical cannabis should be used only when registered treatments (medical cannabis is still mainly an unregistered product) have been tried and have failed to manage conditions and symptoms, differing only for terminal conditions.
If the treating practitioner decides that medical cannabis is an appropriate treatment they will then need to determine exactly which product is suitable and check; product availability by supplier/ sponsor, the dispensing pharmacy, the cost to the patient, and if it is a ‘Schedule 4’ medicine (Prescription Only) or ‘Schedule 8’ medicine (Controlled Drug) as the approval process and product delivery can differ between the two.
Special Access Scheme (SAS) or Authorised Prescriber (AP)
The medical practitioner will need to determine if SAS Category A or B is most suitable for the patient, or consider becoming an Authorised Prescriber (AP) – Category C. With the patient’s consent, the practitioner can apply for federal approval from the TGA citing relevant scientific research around the use of medicinal cannabis for that medical condition, and the patient’s medical history. Who can apply? This varies depending on the state/territory but most stipulate it requires a specialist to apply. In some states GPs may apply but require specialist’s support or expertise in the area for which the medication is being prescribed.
Under current legislation if you are situated in NSW, upon receiving TGA approval a practitioner can then prescribe medicinal cannabis to the patient – Go to Step 6. In all areas except Queensland, Schedule 4 medicines can be prescribed once the TGA has approved the application – Go to Step 6. For Schedule 8 medicines, other states and territories must then take a second step to obtain prescribing approval which is to submit a second application to the state health department – Go to Step 5.
State / Territory Approval (excluding NSW, Qld, SA & VIC)
Each Australian State and Territory has different requirements for patients accessing medicinal cannabis depending on which schedule listing the medical cannabis products are classified as (Schedule 4 or 8). For Schedule 8 medicines, once approval is given from the TGA, the doctor will receive an approval certificate that must be provided as part of the second application to the relevant State Health Department. Upon State Health Board approval the medical practitioner can prescribe to the patient.
The healthcare professional can contact the supplier of the product and provide them with the approved certificate/s. If stock is available in Australia, the supplier can release product to the pharmacist written on the prescription. However, if the product needs to be imported there are additional steps involved to supply product and the supplier must hold an import licence from the ODC.
A pharmacist can dispense product to a patient only on receipt of a hard copy written prescription (Emergency supply provisions do not apply). Hospital pharmacies may supply for inpatients on a copy of a medication chart order.
Choices based on scientific evidence
Medical Practitioners rely on evidence to make informed decisions about the best medications for their patients. Patients are also keen to better understand medical cannabis and some use trials and research relevant to their condition in their discussions with healthcare professionals.
Controlled clinical trials and further research
Providing further evidence and education are the keys to assist doctors with prescribing this treatment option for their patients. More information COMING SOON.
Recognising the importance of access to quality research.
GreenChoices researchers have conducted a review of published research and have presented the clinical evidence we believe gives unbiased, reliable and qualitative information.
The real life impact
Medical cannabis can benefit patients in a variety of clinical settings
There is growing evidence that Medical Cannabis can assist in a wide variety of conditions.
What is medical cannabis and how do I use it?
What does medical marijuana treat?
Is medical cannabis the same thing as medical marijuana?
Is using medical cannabis legal in Australia?
How much does medical cannabis cost in Australia?
What if my medical practitioner won't prescribe medical cannabis but I still want to try this?