In Australia, it is currently legal to use CBD, but not so fast because you’ll need a prescription to do so! Luckily, how to get a CBD prescription in Australia is pretty easy. As long as they are abiding by the guidelines set by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), in Australia, any medical doctor can prescribe medicinal cannabis. Let’s look over the process.
Step-by-Step: Securing Your CBD Prescription
For those interested in a cannabis prescription, it’s generally recommended you start with your general practitioner (GP) or nurse practitioner (NP). Alternatively, you can go with a cannabis clinic that’s run by doctors who specialize in cannabis medication.
Doctors will implore several factors to determine if you are a good candidate for a medical cannabis prescription, including your medical history, family health history, and condition.
While there is no official list of medical conditions for which medicinal cannabis may be prescribed in Australia, you’re more likely to be approved for some over others. Conditions such as epilepsy, MS, non-cancer pain, and nausea and vomiting due to cancer, are more likely to result in a medical cannabis prescription. In 2021, the CBD oil, Epidyolex, was approved in some cases. It’s valid for patients of 2 years old or older in order to treat seizures due to Dravet syndrome.
There are three main pathways a health professional can use for prescribing medical cannabis in Australia:
- Via an Authorized Prescriber (prescribing to a single patient)
- The Special Access Scheme (prescribing to multiple patients with similar indications)
- Through clinical trials.
In Australia, both approved and unapproved cannabis products are available. While the extreme majority of medicinal cannabis products have not been approved, Australian registered medical practitioners can access unapproved medicines via the Special Access Scheme (SAS) or the Authorized Prescriber Scheme. Alternatively, doctors can suggest their patients for a clinical trial.
The Role of Medical Practitioners: Gatekeepers of CBD Access
Unlike in countries like the United States, even when you want a cannabis item that doesn’t cause a high like CBD oil, you will need to consult a doctor if you are in Australia to get a prescription.
Doctors are free to prescribe various cannabis items. This includes all your classic cannabis items and in any spectrum type. This means you can get everything from a CBD isolate to a THC product that contains all the cannabinoids in their naturally occurring ratios.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has published guidance on their website to assist providers of cannabis medicines. This includes guidelines for manufacturers all the way over to marketers to ensure they comply with all cannabis restrictions. Compared to countries like the United States, Australia is very new to the world of medical cannabis.
Most individuals will find it a fairly easy process to get a prescription for CBD or another medical cannabis product. Consultations can be performed over the phone/video. And with a bit of shopping around, you may be able to find a telehealth company that offers free consultations.
Post-Prescription: What Comes Next?
After you’ve received your prescription for CBD or another type of cannabis product, it’s important to familiarize yourself with a few restrictions before using. First, while you can get a prescription for cannabis flower, you are not allowed to smoke/combust it. Vaping is completely fine, however.
Please follow your doctor’s rules and advice, as they can refuse to re-prescribe. It’s required that you report any adverse reactions you experience — you can report it directly to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) by visiting their website.
When they’re writing your script, the doctor will ask you about the pharmacy location you would like to use. While you have the ability to choose (within reason), you will only be able to use said location to pick up your medication.
Your doctor can send the script directly to the pharmacy, but you should still ask for a physical copy for yourself as it provides legal proof that you are a medicinal cannabis patient. The script you keep on hand can be either digital or paper, with most preferring an eScript, as it’s much easier to change your pharmacy location.
Common Misconceptions About CBD Prescriptions in Australia
While the TGA down-scheduled low-dose CBD in Feb 2021, at this time, you will still need a prescription by a healthcare professional if you want to legally use and purchase CBD in Australia. This professional must abide by the rules set in place by the TGA.
Additionally, you will only be able to purchase the specific type of CBD your doctor prescribes — remember, it has to be from an authorized location. Medical professionals are free to prescribe multiple cannabis products for you at a time.
While some people think that getting a medical prescription in Australia is as simple as asking their doctor, it’s not so cut and paste. Luckily, most medical professionals are very open to considering CBD, especially if you’re open and honest with them.
You do not need to go to or consult your general practitioner to receive a prescription to use medical cannabis. Though, it can be a good idea if you have a good relationship, as any GP can prescribe medical cannabis in Australia.
- When you want to legally use CBD in Australia, you will need a prescription for it.
- Medical professionals have three pathways they can go through to prescribe unauthorized cannabis items.
- You do not need a specific medical condition to get a medical cannabis prescription, however, your medical condition and its severity will influence which cannabis items your doctor is comfortable prescribing you.
- Medical cannabis and the process of getting a prescription for it can get expensive fast, so make sure you research various telehealth companies for deals on consultations, delivery, etc.
- Make sure to follow your doctor’s orders. As well, always report any adverse reactions you have. Failing to comply can result in your doctor refusing to renew your script.
- It’s a good idea to ask your doctor for a physical script that you retain, in particular an eScript, as it’s easier to switch pharmacies. You cannot legally buy any cannabis item, including CBD online.
I encourage you to work closely with your cannabis doctor and always reach out to them for any concerns you may have regarding CBD.