There are now different Medical Cannabis products currently available in Australia since the enactment into law of the Narcotic Amendments Act (2016) making it possible for Australians to access Medical Cannabis through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
Currently, there are only two medicinal Cannabis that are registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) registry:
- Epidyolex (cannabidiol) – which is indicated as a supplement therapy for seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and/or Dravet Syndrome for patients 2 years old and above.
- Sativex Oromucosal Spray (nabiximols) – indicated as a treatment for the improvement with moderate to severe spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS) for people who have not responded adequately to other anti-spasticity medication.
There are reportedly over 150 legal Medical Cannabis products currently available in Australia today. Still, most Cannabis products are still unapproved as they do not appear or listed in the ARTG. These products can however be accessed by patients through “special access” pathways with the approval of the TGA.
There are also various products that are available that doctors may prescribe via compounding pharmacies. For now, it is currently difficult for both doctors and patients to know what products are available since the advertising of Medical Cannabis is not allowed in Australia.
Of over 150 products currently available in Australia (and growing), they all come in various forms. Of these various forms, there are 5 predominant types or forms of what could be the top choices both by doctors and patients as an adjunct to their treatments. Also, these are readily available regardless of brand.
It is important to note that this is not in any way intended for promotion or advertising purposes, so we won’t name brands.
The list below is for Medical Cannabis patients who need information on what other patients are choosing to augment their treatments. Also, we have to state that Medical Cannabis is not and does not work for everyone, or for those with contraindications that can cause side effects. We discourage anyone from self-medicating, and the guidance from your health care professional is encouraged at all times. Note also that the safest way to consume Medical Cannabis in Australia is the method prescribed by your doctor.
1. Oils – The most abundant type of product in Australia, it can be extracted from the leaves, stalk, and flowers of the Cannabis plant. The extracts are then manufactured with a carrier oil such as those from olives, hemp or Medium-Chain Triglyceride (MCT) oil.
The oil (CBD, THC, or a combination in varying amounts) can then be consumed by ingestion, in capsules, applied topically, or mixed with food and beverages. CBD Oil is a run to choice for chronic pain and is already approved by the TGA for access under the SASB scheme.
2. Capsules – Most CBD suppliers have one type of CBD capsules to offer in their product line up as a simple and effective way to use CBD.
CBD capsules are a novel form of Cannabinoids now available in the market. Since legalisation, the availability and quality of CBD capsules increased exponentially. The cannabinol capsules are extracted from female hemp and Cannabis plants.
However, not all CBD capsules are the same. As an example, the best CBD capsule for joint pain may not be the best and different from CBD capsule for sleep. Without proper guidance from a professional, it can be difficult to know which CBD capsule to choose.
3. Flowers – It’s refreshing to note that there are locally cultivated and manufactured products available in Australia. Do note also that there are some Certified Organic and some non-irradiated flowers.
Raw flowers can either be smoked, vaped or eaten/cooked. There are a ton of different strains or varieties to choose from, with each having its unique flavour and effect profile.
4. Sprays – Sprays are easy to use. You can spray CBD directly into your mouth for a quick dose, or apply it on your skin as a topical. Spraying on skin helps with acne or sunburns, applied over joints eases pain.
Spraying CBD under the tongue will provide sleep support, chronic pain, stress, anxiety, and more.
5. Wafers – Considered a world’s first, a freeze-dried Medical Cannabis sublingual wafer is now available in Australia. The patented nano-emulsion of broad spectrum CBD sublingual wafer has been designed to provide a more rapid and predictable absorption of Cannabis, improved bioavailability and the potential for faster therapeutic action.
The wafer is consumed by placing it under the tongue, where it disintegrates, releasing active compounds for absorption through the mucosal membrane into the bloodstream. This method offers fixed-unit dosing and will overcome some absorption issues dealt by other CBD delivery methods.
Currently, There are two companies in Australia that manufactures these wafers and are ready for consumption, with your doctor’s approval of course. As an unapproved product, acquiring them will need to go through the process set by the TGA.
One warning though, the price of convenience drove its price, and it’s not cheap. A month’s supply of 60 wafers at around $170 to $200 (perhaps more) depending on the pharmacy you acquire it from. Perhaps we’ll see a price drop if it eventually gets added to the PBS.
There are other forms of products where one can find CBD and THC formulations, they also come in lozenges, tinctures, crystals, chewables, concentrates, teas, bath bombs, there are even CBD products designed for your pets.
With so many numerous brands of Medical Cannabis in the offering, the numbers are still rising. As regulation laws relax a bit more, chances are likely that more products will flood the market and prices for Medical Cannabis may decline for the benefit of patients who would opt for alternative treatments or seek a supplement for their usual medications.
To know more about Medical Cannabis, visit our patients page to know more about what conditions can be treated by Medical Cannabis. For more information about Cannabis medication, contact us. We are here for you.