Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Cannabis in Australia

Is Cannabis legal in Australia?


On 30 October 2016, federal legislation was introduced which enables the legal cultivation, production and manufacturing of medicinal cannabis products in Australia. Medicinal cannabis was down-scheduled by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) from a prohibited substance (Schedule 9) to a controlled drug (Schedule 8) effective from 1 November 2016. Medicinal cannabis is only legal with a prescription. Recreational use is still prohibited.




Does C1000 contain THC?


PharmaCann C1000 contains Cannabidiol (CBD) as the active ingredient and is classed as a Schedule 4 drug. C1000 contains <0.1% THC which is deemed negligible by Australian and International testing standards.




Is it safe to drive after taking medicinal cannabis?


The TGA advises that “while drowsiness is not a known side effect of CBD alone, it may occur if the CBD interacts with other medications. Some medicinal cannabis products may also include tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in which case there is a strict ban on driving and operating machinery”. The advice we have been given during our dealings with both QLD and NSW Police is that patients must have their prescription on their person if they are driving and have been taking THC or CBD/THC Ratio medicines. As the capsules are swallowed, they are less likely to present a reading in a saliva sample test than an oil tincture taken sublingually. PharmaCann C1000 will not present in a road-side drug test as they do not test for Cannabidiol and the THC content in negligible. The TGA applies a warning label that the medicine may cause drowsiness.




Why are PharmaCann products cheaper than others on the market?


PharmaCann is able to offer a range of medicinal cannabis products at much more affordable prices than those currently on the market. This is because we currently hold Federally issued licences to allow us to wholesale, cultivate and manufacture all forms of medicinal cannabis. From plant to patient.™ By maintaining the whole supply chain we are able to save on compounding margins and pass the cost-saving on to the patient.




Is the oral route of administration as effective as the sublingual (oil tincture)?


In regards to absorption via oral route of administration, the absorption of the content of the capsules takes place in the GI tract and is metabolised through the liver, as opposed to a sublingual or inhalation route of administration. Effects of the medicine taken orally in a capsule or dosage form will generally take place between 30-45 mins, possibly longer.




How are the products dispensed?


Medicinal cannabis products are dispensed like any other pharmaceutical drug – however they cannot be stored at the pharmacy without an active prescription.




Is medicinal cannabis safe?


Cannabis has a superior safety profile. Side effects are mostly related to THC - the psychoactive component of the plant. CBD is considered to be of very low toxicity - doses of 1000mg/kg appear to have been safely tolerated in humans. PharmaCann C1000 contains 33.3mg/CBD per capsule. The safety ratio of THC is 1:1000. Therefore one would need to have 1000 consecutive doses to reach a lethal dose putting the safety ratio at 1:1000. In comparison to this, the safety ratio of codeine is 1:20. The only known contraindications of cannabis are as follows: Cannabis is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women. Cannabis is not recommended for patients with a history of psychosis - except for CBD predominant formulations which have no psychoactive effect. Caution should be exercised using THC with unstable cardiac patients due to tachycardia and possible hypotension caused by THC.




What is medicinal cannabis?


Medicinal Cannabis refers to legal, high-quality products made from raw cannabis plants, prepared under controlled conditions in pharmaceutical laboratories.

Legal preparations of cannabis use modified active components of the plant, which maximise the therapeutic benefit and minimise side effects.

Pharmaceutical products in tablet, capsule, spray, or oil form mean the dose and strength of the product can be controlled and standardised.




Am I eligible for medicinal cannabis?


In Australia, on December 31st, 2019, there was over 130 conditions that were accepted for medicinal cannabis treatment.

Common indications include pain conditions, seizure management/epilepsy, cancer pain and symptom management, multiple sclerosis and physiological conditions including anxiety, anorexia, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In order to determine your eligibility, you must have a consultation with a Doctor.

So, the first step towards Medicinal Cannabis is to see your usual GP, Doctor or Specialist.

You can also find a list of prescribing Telehealth Doctors available Australia wide at: https://www.thecannabiscentre.com.au/doctors

Please note Consultation fees may vary so please confirm fees with the clinic upon booking.

You may be eligible for Medical Cannabis if:

  1. You have one of the 130 pre-approved conditions;
  2. You are taking or have tried taking standard medicine/s that been unsuccessful or produced side effects.

Once you have been prescribed Medicinal Cannabis you can take your prescription to any Pharmacy and collect your medicine (1-3 business days).




What are the benefits of medicinal cannabis?


More study and testing is needed to determine the full spectrum of health benefits medicinal cannabis can have.

However, there is evidence it may be useful in treating the following areas:

  • Chemo induced nausea and vomiting

  • Improve sleep

  • Improve anxiety

  • Increase appetite

  • Pain relief

  • Reduce inflammation

  • Reduce spasticity

  • Reduce seizures

  • Relief from nausea




What are the possible side effects of medicinal cannabis?


All medications have the potential to cause unwanted side effects and medicinal cannabis is no exception.

These side effects may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Changes in appetite

  • Diarrhoea

  • Difficulty with concentration

  • Difficulty thinking and memory recall

  • Dizziness or loss of balance

  • Drowsiness

If you have any side effects or concerns throughout the duration of your treatment course, please consult with your GP and/or prescribing Doctor to ensure appropriate measures are taken to monitor those side effects or concerns.




My Doctor is hesitant, or simply won’t prescribe cannabis?


In Australia many Doctors have not received formal training in prescribing medicinal cannabis or may not be familiar with the pathways to access medicinal cannabis.

If you believe your Doctor isn’t willing to prescribe because of lack of information you can give your Doctor the “Doctor Fact Sheet” included in this booklet;

Alternatively, if you believe your Doctor is not interested in prescribing medicinal cannabis, you can access Doctors who have been trained and can issue prescriptions at the following link: https://www.thecannabiscentre.com.au/doctors

If you are going to access medicinal cannabis via a Doctor other than your usual Doctor, ask your Doctor to complete the following “Doctor Referral Document” so that you can submit to a Prescribing Doctor from https://www.thecannabiscentre.com.au/doctors




What is the difference between medicinal and recreational cannabis?


Medicinal cannabis is produced under strict pharmaceutical conditions. Doctors and pharmacists know exactly what the medicine contains.




How is medicinal cannabis taken?


In Australia, medicinal cannabis products are commonly available as oils, sprays and capsules, doses are usually taken orally.

Cannabis Flos (dry flower) is also available and prescribed by a Doctor, prescription flos must be taken as per doctors prescription.




Can I legally smoke cannabis now?


No. It is still illegal to use recreational cannabis, you will not be able to claim that smoking cannabis is for ‘medicinal’ purposes without a prescription from a Doctor.




How much does medicinal cannabis cost?


Medicinal cannabis products are not funded under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and prices will vary from one product to another.

Your prescribing Doctor or pharmacist can advise you of current pricing.




Is there anything I should tell my prescribing Doctor before I start taking medicinal cannabis?


You should let your prescribing Doctor know if you:

  • Have or have had medical conditions in the past (incl. Any lung, liver, or kidney problems and drug or alcohol dependencies)

  • Are pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant

  • If you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed




Can I drive if I am using cannabis?


Any medication that contains THC can hinder your attention and concentration, which affects a person’s ability to drive and operate machinery.

In most states in Australia, it is an offence to drive with THC present in your system, regardless of whether the THC comes from prescribed legal medicinal cannabis or illicit recreational cannabis.

It is recommended that people using medicinal cannabis with THC do not drive.




Need additional information or assistance?


Please contact us: medical@thecannabiscentre.com.au





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