There's a body of evidence around the world that suggests medicinal cannabis, which is now a controlled substance in Australia, can benefit numerous conditions.
IS MEDICAL CANNABIS LEGAL IN AUSTRALIA?
Yes, medical cannabis is now a controlled substance rather than a prohibited one under the Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA)
It was rescheduled from Schedule 9 (prohibited substance) to Scheduled 8 (controlled substance)
The federal government approved the reclassification, which came into effect in October 2016
This gave doctors a pathway to prescribe to patients
CAN PATIENTS ACCESS MEDICAL CANNABIS?
Yes, but it is reasonably difficult
Medical cannabis is not approved by the TGA as a registered good, therefore there is a lot of paperwork to apply for access
If patients are looking to access medical cannabis they must use other pathways such as the Special Access Scheme
States and territories can independently make access available to specific types of patients
Doctors also have to apply to become an authorised prescriber
To date, fewer than 150 people in Australia have been given access to medicinal cannabis
WHO CAN APPLY FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS?
The TGA doesn't specify which illnesses might be eligible for special access to medicinal cannabis
Doctors need to be able to show the drug would be of benefit for a patient
THE EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF MEDICAL CANNABIS
Most agree that the evidence is still not in on medical cannabis
Very few randomised double blind placebo control studies - the gold standard in medicine - have been conducted to test the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis
There is a body of evidence around the world that suggests it can benefit numerous conditions. These include:
* Multiple sclerosis
* Chronic neuropathic pain
* Nausea from cancer-related chemotherapy
* Parkinson's disease