Medicinal cannabis clinics rolled out

Australians battling chronic conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis can now secure medicinal cannabis easier following the launch of the country’s first specialised Cannabis Access Clinics in Sydney and Melbourne last week.

Medicinal cannabis is an unregistered medicine requiring approval from federal and state governments and can only be prescribed after a successful application process under the Special Access Scheme (SAS).

The new Cannabis Access Clinics were given the green light and maintain their aim is to streamline the often-complex process surrounding access to medicinal cannabis for people who experience conditions that have shown benefit from use of the drug.

Clinics opened in Sydney and Melbourne last week and will follow in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth this month.

Staffed with GPs and specialists, the clinics will focus on helping patients suffering from conditions including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and palliative care and chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting.

The process starts with people making an application to access medicinal cannabis that is then reviewed by Cannabis Access Clinics.

To be eligible, people must be an Australian resident and have been diagnosed with a condition that conventional treatments have failed to improve.

A letter from a GP or specialist backing the application is also required.

If a face-to-face or telehealth consultation with the clinic’s doctors is successful and the treatment deemed beneficial for the condition then a medicinal cannabis prescription can be dispensed easily from a pharmacy.

Cannabis Access Clinics Medical Director, Dr Sanjay Nijhawan, said the privately owned venture was striving to help people navigate their way through complex regulations surrounding medicinal cannabis.

“Our aim is to improve the quality of life for patients with chronic conditions and symptoms, while working within the regulations that the state and federal governments have put in place for medicinal cannabis.”

The treatment costs hundreds of dollars per month and clinics charge an out-of pocket fee of $300 for an initial consultation, which includes an application to government for approval. The approval process can take up to four weeks from when the application was lodged subject to the complexity of the case.

10 Responses

  1. It should be available to everyone not just who you think it’s going to help, cannibus oil is proven to help a lot more than those problems that you have mentioned.

  2. In my view It is negligence to only provide this treatment option to those with a diagnosis that other treatments have failed to treat..this is a plant which has benefits for ALL who have a chronic disease needs not be Approved by a specialist as if they disagree your option to use is shot down in flames..totally disagree with the inaccessibility. Healthcare charter of rights is clear in the right to choice in our own treatment choices…

  3. Access isn’t really easier if an initial consultation costs $300+ and treatment is “hundreds of dollars per month”, is it?
    As a nursing student and an epileptic whose seizures are not 100% controlled by the piles of meds I take daily, this is a story I follow with interest. But this new scheme sounds like a rort, just a way of making money from desperate people. I’ll stick to my pbs drugs for now.

  4. They take the THC out that fixes your cells in the oil & wont write scripts up for hardly anyone I’ve heard!!

  5. So it’s available for the affluent patients. How wonderful..NOT. So. What about all of those who can’t even afford to go to such a clinic,nor pay the consultation fee,nor afford the actual medicinal cannabis?. Gee that makes sense…we don’t count to you pen pushers. Make it available to all who need it. It’s legal to grow it in the ACT ..legalise it nationally. To grow ones own should be legal and a choice.

  6. Wow sound like a money grabbing scheme.$300 for a consultation ontop of paying for oil.? No wonder people go under ground to buy it. I concur with the comments.The oil should be for all that are suffering an illness.

  7. Where is this oil made, and what strains are available? Are these doctors experts in Cannabis medicine/healing?AND is it FECO, Full Plant Extract? What cost ie. “hundreds” is a broad spectrum.

  8. We understand the consultation and medicine costs are high for some patients, and until medicines are subsidized by the PBS, this will always be the case. We are also working hard to reduce the costs of our service as the regulations relax. The advantage of taking the legal approach is that patients can be sure that the products they take contain the ingredients stated on the label. This is not necessarily the case with illegal products that are not tested or held up to national quality standards.

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