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Patient Information

Patient Access to Medical Cannabis in Australia

In Australia, Medical Cannabis is currently generally classified as an unregistered product – unlike the registered prescription medicines that you are used to accessing through the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme). Despite this patients can still access Medicinal Cannabis and this is a brief guide to how this process works from the patient’s perspective.

Medicinal Cannabis  products can be accessed via the following three access pathways:

  • Special Access Scheme (SAS) There are two pathways: ‘A’ and ‘B’.
  • Authorised Prescribers
  • Clinical trials

Authorised prescribers deal with a specific group of patients with the same diagnosis. Any doctor can prescribe Medicinal Cannabis without becoming an ‘authorised prescriber.’  This method of access is often used by specialist doctors such as a doctor working exclusively with patients who have a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS or a specialist working in a neurology clinic who sees patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Clinical trials allow access but there are often specialised acceptance criteria and requirements that your doctor can guide you through if this pathway suits your needs.

If you have a diagnosis of a life-limiting illness your doctor may choose the streamlined ‘SAS A’ process but for most patients, Special Access Scheme (SAS) Category ‘B’ is the most common and quickest pathway a general practitioner can use to prescribe Medicinal Cannabis.

This document focuses on this common ‘SAS B’ pathway which facilitates access for a wide variety of patients with many different symptoms. 

 

SAS B

Medical Cannabis is not a first-line treatment. This means that, in most cases, your doctor will need to try some other treatments for the symptoms that you have.

The government considers cannabinoid therapy something that should only be used after standard treatments have been unsuccessful or caused unacceptable side-effects or hold unacceptable risks.

As part of the application your doctor will need to comment on the previous treatments that have been tried and what happened to justify the request for Medicinal Cannabis.

If you are wishing to look further into how you or a loved one may be able to access medicinal cannabis as a treatment option we advise all patients to contact their GP or Specialist.

For more information on how to access medicinal cannabis please ask your GP or Specialist to contact our team on (02) 4942 6021 or by emailing us admin@cannapacific.com.au

Please note product information is available only to medical practitioners.

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