Queensland residents in Australia are now set to acquire medical cannabis more easily, thanks to new legislation passed last week.
What the new law means
According to a statement from Queensland Health, the new law allows any registered practitioner to prescribe medical marijuana for any of their patients. The law allows medical cannabis prescription for any condition “if they believe it is clinically appropriate and have obtained the required Commonwealth approval.”
Regular GPs will now be able to recommend medical cannabis as long as they believe it’s a suitable treatment for their patients.
The current Australian law classifies cannabis products as either Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 controlled substances. With the passing of the new law, the Queensland Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 now states:
Queensland doctors can prescribe Schedule 4 – cannabidiol (CBD) and Schedule 8 – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or tetrahydrocannabinol: cannabidiol (THC: CBD) products without a Queensland approval.
Previously, only a handful of specialist practitioners were allowed to prescribe medical marijuana. Besides, the doctors had to be registered with Queensland Health and “apply for each script with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).”
The new law now makes it easier for doctors to prescribe the substance albeit with a clinical evidence for treatment. Doctors will need to prove that a patient would benefit from a medical marijuana product such as CBD, THC, or both.
Medical marijuana treatment
According to Queensland Health, only certain conditions are suitable for medical marijuana application. All the same, it says research is ongoing and currently there’s limited scientific evidence.
The conditions include:
- Nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy
- Severe seizures and other types of epilepsy
- Severe muscular spasms
- Palliative care (to relieve pain, vomiting, nausea, and cachexia)
- Other symptoms of multiple sclerosis
- Some types of chronic non-cancer pain
At the same time, Queensland Health warns practitioners against prescribing medical cannabis as an alternative treatment for cancer patients. Doctors should not swap out standard treatment “in favor of using medical cannabis.”
Australia slow toward cannabis legalization and the enactment of this law is just another step in the country’s slow move to being receptive to cannabis usage.
At the beginning of this year, ACT jurisdiction passed cultivation and possession laws, which allow residents to possess up to 50 grams of dried cannabis and grow up to four cannabis plants per household.