Prescription of medicinal cannabis products in the ACT
On 1 November 2016 some cannabis products will be able to be prescribed by doctors in Australia, including the ACT. This follows a recent decision by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to reschedule some medicinal cannabis products to schedule 8 of the Poisons Standard.
From 1 November cannabis products which are intended for medicinal use and are either:
a) manufactured in Australia in accordance with the Commonwealth Department of Health regulations; and/or
b) imported in accordance with a valid customs import license issued by the Commonwealth Department of Health
will be able to be prescribed as a schedule 8, ‘controlled’ medicine in the ACT.
The legal status of all other forms of cannabis, whether intended for medicinal use or not, will not change after 1 November.
Cannabis cultivated by patients for their own use, or medicinal cannabis products manufactured outside of the Commonwealth Department of Health regulations cannot be prescribed.
In order to prescribe cannabis as a controlled medicine, doctors should obtain authority from the ACT Chief Health Officer (CHO) under the same process which currently applies for other controlled medicines such as opiates and amphetamines. Only registered medical practitioners can apply for an authority to prescribe a controlled medicine for one of their patients.
NB: Cannabidiol (when containing no more than 2% of other cannabinoids) is a schedule 4 medicine, and as such no ACT Health authorisation is required.
Medical practitioners can obtain information on how to prescribe medicinal cannabis by contacting the ACT Health Protection Service on (02) 6205 0998.
Commonwealth Government regulations also require a doctor who wishes to prescribe medicinal cannabis to obtain an authority to prescribe from the TGA. Prescribers should obtain this approval before applying to the ACT CHO for authority to prescribe medicinal cannabis.
Information regarding obtaining authorised prescriber approval from the TGA can be found on the TGA website at https://www.tga.gov.au/
Information regarding importation of medicinal cannabis products can be found on the Office of Drug Control website at https://www.odc.gov.au/
Follow the link for information on the ACT Medicinal Cannabis Medical Advisory Panel.