Information for patients and carers
What is medicinal cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis is a pharmaceutical product prescribed by your doctor. It is used to treat the symptoms of a medical condition or the side effects of another treatment. You should talk to your doctor about whether medicinal cannabis may be appropriate for you.
What medicinal cannabis products are available?
Medicinal cannabis products vary in formulation (combination of different cannabinoids) and how they are taken (oils, gels, capsules etc.). Different products will be appropriate for the treatment of different symptoms or conditions. Your doctor will determine which medicinal cannabis product is right for you. Most products available in Australia have not been evaluated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and entered onto the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) – the usual process for medicines in Australia. One product is listed on the ARTG.
How can I access medicinal cannabis?
Legal medicinal cannabis products can only be accessed via a prescription from your doctor.
Speak with your doctor to determine whether medicinal cannabis is an appropriate treatment for you. If so, your doctor will then decide which product is most suitable. Dr Yuri Raymon at MyClinic Prahran, Dr Oksana Nesterenko at MyClinic South Yarra and Dr John Brooks and Dr Mathini Ruthra-Rajan at MyClinic Elsternwick available for appointments to discuss your treatment.
Your doctor may need to apply for government approval before prescribing medicinal cannabis to you. If required, this process takes 2 business days after all the required information is submitted.
Once your doctor has any required approvals, they will give you a prescription that you can have dispensed at any pharmacy.
How much does medicinal cannabis cost?
Initial consult to discuss if Medicinal Cannabis is right for you is bulk billed.
You will then be asked to make another appointment so the doctor can apply for permits. The cost for this consultation is $300, there is a Medicare rebate of $73-$104.
The cost of medicinal cannabis products is not currently subsidised by the Commonwealth Government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This means that you will need to fund the cost of treatment yourself. The amount you will pay varies depending on the type of product prescribed and the dose recommended by your doctor.
Can I drive while taking medicinal cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis products containing THC can cause impairment, and therefore patients should not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking this medicine. In addition, it is an offense to drive with any amount of THC in your system in Victoria, even if a person has been prescribe a legal medicinal cannabis product. THC may be detected for a number of days after consumption. Patients should also note that medicinal cannabis may be detected in occupational/organisational drug testing programs.