Over the Counter Medicinal Cannabis


You may have heard that medicinal cannabis will now be available over the counter. Let’s take a minute to understand what this really means…Up until February 2021, medicinal cannabis was only available via a doctor’s prescription. However, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has now given permission for medicines containing low dose CBD only to be available from pharmacies.


To explain further….


Medicinal cannabis and the recreational drug marijuana are both derived from the same plant. The plant contains the cannabinoids CBD and THC and are used to treat a variety of medical conditions.


THC is psychoactive and is responsible for the ‘high’ we think of with cannabis. CBD is not psychoactive. The ratio of THC and CBD varies in medicines. Until 2021, all have required a prescription in Australia.


TGA have now given permission for low dose CBD medicines (low dose is defined as those CBD medicines with <1% THC of total cannabinoid content) to be made available for purchase in the pharmacy without a prescription. As yet, no manufacturer has taken up this option. So at this point, “Over the Counter” (pharmacy) medicinal cannabis remains theoretical.


So in practice nothing has really changed. People taking medicinal cannabis must have a prescription and it must be supplied by an Australian pharmacy.


 

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