Medicinal Cannabis

Medicinal cannabis products are products lawfully manufactured and prescribed for a therapeutic purpose which are either derived from legally cultivated cannabis plants or synthetically made cannabinoid substances but are not included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) ‘unregistered’. There are many naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Access to medicinal cannabis products follows the same process as for all other scheduled medicines in Australia. Both Commonwealth and Tasmanian legislation, and regulatory frameworks are applicable.

In Tasmania, in order to allow treating practitioners the option of prescribing unregistered medicinal cannabis as part of their treatment of patients, the Tasmanian Government developed the Controlled Access Scheme (CAS) in 2017 for subsidised access to unregistered medicinal cannabis products.

The CAS utilised an established medicines access pathway within the Tasmanian Health Service (THS) and includes criteria which restricts the prescribing of these products to relevant medical specialists in the specific condition being treated and dispensing of these subsidised products may only occur at a THS Pharmacy.

On 16 March 2021 the Premier announced the Government will be making changes to how Tasmanians may access unregistered medicinal cannabis products, which will include authorising Tasmanian General Practitioners to prescribe unregistered medicinal cannabis products, and allowing more pharmacies across the State to be able to dispense these products.

The announcement will align access to unregistered medicinal cannabis products in Tasmania with other Australian jurisdictions from 1 July 2021.

Like all other jurisdictions, Tasmanian GPs will be required to seek approval from the TGA under either the Special Access Scheme or Authorised Prescriber Scheme.

Subject to necessary approval from the TGA, Tasmania will adopt the national streamlined online application pathway and 48-hour authorisation timeframe from 1 July 2021.

There are no restrictions on the medical conditions for which a prescriber may apply through the national streamlined online application pathway.

Relevant medical specialists within the THS will be able to continue to utilise the pre-existing application pathway for subsidised access to these products.

Updated information will be published on this webpage to assist practitioners and patients to understand the pathways to access unregistered medicinal cannabis products in Tasmania.

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