In recent years, a growing set of studies have suggested that cannabis (colloquially marijuana) may have medicinal benefits. Research is ongoing and there is still much to learn about long-term side effects however, the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) have tentatively accepted medicinal cannabis in Australia. Here’s the important details to know around medicinal cannabis and its prescription, usage and legality within NSW.
What is medicinal cannabis?
Cannabis medicines are classified as any products used for therapeutic purposes which have been derived from the cannabis plant, or synthetically made substances with similar effects to the cannabis plant which are called cannabinoids.
Who can access medicinal cannabis?
Most cannabis medicines are not registered within Australia which means practitioners must apply for permission before being able to offer a prescription. They should also be considered a last resort in most cases and are only appropriate for use when all other clinical treatments have been exhausted.
Patients may only have legal access to medicinal cannabis with a prescription. This prescription allows themselves and/or their carers to administer these medicines. This prescription is only legal for use by the person named on the document.
What can medicinal cannabis treat?
Research into the effectiveness and potential benefits to medicinal cannabis is ongoing. As recent as last year, the NSW Government provided $9 million in funding for clinical trials to further investigate the safety and effectiveness of these drugs. The limited evidence we have so far suggests it may assist with epilepsy in children and adults, multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic non-cancer pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer and palliative care. There are side effects to medicinal cannabis such as tiredness, drowsiness, fever, dry mouth, diarrhoea and more.
Does this mean cannabis is legal now?
Legalising medicinal cannabis in certain circumstances does not change the laws for recreational use. It is still illegal in NSW to possess, supply, manufacture, traffic or cultivate cannabis.
It is also illegal to advertise the use of cannabis medicines to the public whether that is as sponsors, manufacturers, importers, pharmacists, health professionals or marketers.
Read our past blogs for more information on drug laws in NSW:
- Which Drugs Are Illegal in NSW?
- Drug Offences Under NSW Law
- Roadside Drug Testing: Your Rights & Responsibilities
Powerhouse Law’s experienced drug lawyers are here to protect your rights
With years of experience as qualified drug lawyers, the team at Powerhouse Law can assist you or someone you know with drug offences. Whether it’s a question of a legally prescribed drug or an illegal substance issue, we’re here for you with professional, compassionate legal advice. Call 1800 100 529 for 24/7 legal assistance or book a consultation online.