The Australian Medical Cannabis Prescription Guide

This page is to serve as the definitive guide for any medical professional in Australia interested in learning more about the appropriate ways to prescribe medical cannabis. To become an effective medical cannabis prescriber, this book will serve as your comprehensive guide through the whole prescription procedure.

Since 2016, medical marijuana use is permitted in Australia. About 80,000 Australians have medical cannabis prescriptions, and many of them use the drug without consulting a doctor. It’s estimated that more than a hundred different medical ailments have prescriptions for cannabis as of December 2021. 

Sadly, many doctors and other medical professionals refuse to incorporate medical cannabis into their practise because they claim there is insufficient data to support its use. Contrarily, medical cannabis is supported by a growing body of clinical research and substantial anecdotal evidence.

Patients have always led the way in cannabis-based medical research and development. The number of people using medical cannabis in Australia is continuously growing. You owe it to your patients as a contemporary healthcare provider to familiarise yourself with medicinal cannabis, its possible advantages, and its low risk of adverse effects.

Relax if you’re worried about getting a medical marijuana prescription rather than about cannabis. In a nutshell, it’s easy. There are several compelling pieces of information that may sway your decision if you’re still on the fence about this issue.

Medicinal cannabis can be prescribed by any general practitioner or specialist in Australia, and a specific permit is not required.

Clinical rationale for cannabis prescriptions is a sign that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) recognises cannabis’ medical value.

Chronic pain, anxiety, cancer pain, insomnia, neuropathic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are among the most common disorders for which medical cannabis is allowed.

There is evidence that cannabis is effective, albeit it is mixed in quality.

Cannabis has been shown to relieve pain in individuals with chronic pain by roughly 30%, and there are medications accessible to patients that have passed through scientific testing.

While the cost of cannabis medicine might vary widely, a wide selection of products ensures that everyone can find something that works for them.

The above is only a summary of the information you’ll require. Pieces mentioned under “Further Reading” will further on these ideas; some of these articles are still in development and will be published at a later date.

In Australia, who may legally recommend medical marijuana?

Throughout Australia, medical cannabis can be prescribed by any general practitioner or specialist, and in some states, nurse practioners may also be able to do so. Prescription policies vary slightly between jurisdictions. 

Some states have more simplified processes, while others need applications to both the TGA and state health department. Sending a patient to a cannabis clinic is an option if you’re not yet confident in prescribing medical cannabis and would like to learn more about its potential benefits before writing your first prescription.

Make sure to get in touch with the medical centre to learn how your patient fared.

How exactly does weed function?

Cannabis exerts its therapeutic effects through interacting with the body’s endogenous cannabinoid system.

Endocannabinoid System

Humans have what’s termed an Endocannabinoid System, a biological mechanism (ECS). The ECS is crucial to the proper functioning of both the brain and the immune system, and it is widely believed to be responsible for maintaining homoeostasis. There are three primary components that make up the ECS:

cannabinoid degrading enzymes

It’s important to note that cannabinoid receptors are dispersed throughout the immunological and central neurological systems. Cannabinoid receptors, or CB1 and CB2, are the two most common types. These receptors, when engaged, either amplify or dampen nerve signalling.

It’s possible that endocannabinoids and Phyto-cannabinoids work via interactions with receptors other than CB1. Specific examples of such receptors are GPR55, TRPV1, PPAR, GPR119, and GPR18.

Cannabinoids may be divided into three categories:

  • The body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids called endocannabinoids.
  • Cannabinoids present in plants called Phyto-cannabinoids.
  • Human-made cannabinoids, known as synthetic cannabinoids.

Ingesting substances with a molecular structure comparable to that of our endocannabinoids can assist regulate our central nervous system.

To put it simply, cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors can function together like a lock and key. Cannabinoids are like keys that unlock the receptors. When activated, receptors trigger mechanisms that alter nerve impulses. 

Cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and others assist regulate our bodies by binding to a wide variety of receptors. We’ll talk more about the non-classical cannabinoid receptors that most minor cannabinoids interact with in a separate piece.

To be deficient in endocannabinoids at a clinical level

In the early 2000s, the concept of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) was proposed. It proposes that low levels of the hormone endocannabinoid are a

t the heart of a wide range of illnesses and health problems that share certain features.

The idea is that by stimulating the ECS, symptoms of these nearly incurable diseases might be alleviated. Over the past two decades, studies have shown that CECD is real.

The Australian Medical Cannabis Prescription Guide

Conditions that fall under the umbrella of chronic pain and dysfunction (CECD) include: chronic migraines, IBS, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Cannabis, when taken properly, may alter an entire network of physiological systems by interacting with the ECS, whereas most conventional medications target only one aspect of sickness. It is difficult to pinpoint the precise mechanisms that give rise to most illnesses. Thanks to cannabis, we can bring for positive change without taking on the same significant danger.

CBD vs. THC: What You Need to Know

CBD and THC, the two most well-known cannabinoids in cannabis, have extremely distinct characteristics. Due to its promiscuous molecular nature, CBD has a broad variety of therapeutic effects by interacting with a number of different receptors, enzymes, and neurotransmitters in the body.

There are very few serious adverse consequences despite its widespread impact. CBD has been shown to lessen symptoms of stress, inflammation, and epileptic seizures in children.

As the World Health Organization has noted, CBD “Does not appear to have misuse potential or cause damage.” CBD has been linked to several positive health effects, including but not limited to the following: reduced pain, improved sleep, reduced anxiety and depression, less nausea, better heart health, and revitalised and protected skin.

CBD’s negative effects often disappear after dosing, or only appear at extremely high concentrations.

Substantial reduction in body fat

Inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes can result in medication interactions, as you shall see below.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary psychoactive compound and primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The psychoactive compound THC is responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana used for recreational purposes by adults. 

However, getting high is typically considered a negative side effect when using cannabis for medical purposes. At modest dosages, THC has the potential to be an effective medication, with effects mediated by direct interactions with cannabinoid receptors.

Due to the low density of cannabinoid receptors in the brainstem, THC is unable to block the brain’s cardiorespiratory centres. As a result, THC has a very low risk of adverse effects. But for patients, having too much THC may be quite painful.

A Terpene Primer

Terpenes are plant aromatic oils present in cannabis leaves, flowers, fruit, and sap. Terpenes provide the plant with defence and are responsible for its aroma and flavour. Though terpenes have been found to have various therapeutic effects, much of the research into them is still in the pre-clinical stages.

Terpenes are not just the smell-makers in cannabis, but also the “effect drivers.” Many believe that the impact of a product depends on whether it is made from an Indica or Sativa plant. The terpenes, however, are responsible.

The Australian Medical Cannabis Prescription Guide

THC and Cannabinoids Terpenes

Terpenes are not present in all cannabis-based medical medicines. Terpenes are found in full-spectrum goods since they are made from a plant chemical extraction. 

The volatile nature of many plant components, however, means that even in a broad spectrum extract much of the plant’s original constituents are lost. As a result, it’s unlikely that a full spectrum extract’s chemical profile will match that of the flower itself.

Connection between Terpenes and Cannabis Goods

Products with a wide range of effects should contain terpenes. Broad-spectrum, however, implies that some of the extraction’s original benefits were lost in the process.

In addition to lacking terpenes, isolates are single-molecule substances. Even more recently, some businesses have begun manufacturing terpsolates—isolates to which terpenes have been added.

Terpenes by themselves won’t get you high, but they may be able to alter how your body responds to THC.


We know you might be curios to find out more information and discuss medicinal cannabis uses, or where to get legal medicinal cannabis products in Australia, or who is authorised to prescribe medicinal cannabis products to you, and we know lots of people are also worried about the use of medicinal cannabis. 

For all these, schedule a consultation session today with our experts at Chronic Therapy to get professional advice about any medicinal cannabis product or medicinal use of the product to maximise your benefits from it.

More to read: CBD Oil and ADHD? What You Need to Know