What Conditions Are Eligible?
Not all medical conditions will provide a patient with access to medical marijuana. The list is strictly defined and maintained by the government, and physicians are not allowed to override it based on their own opinion. Generally, unless you’re dealing with multiple sclerosis, cancer being treated with chemotherapy (with adverse effects present and recorded), epilepsy, or a terminal disease where you have been estimated to have less than a year to live, it will probably be next to impossible for you to obtain a prescription. If you believe that your condition still warrants a special evaluation and a unique assessment, you might still try contacting your physician, but keep the above list in mind.
Waiting for the list to change is rarely an option too, especially with how slow legislation has been moving in this area lately, but it can never hurt to involve yourself in some political channels that could potentially influence the situation, if you feel like this is a fight worth taking up. But beyond that, you should be respectful to your physician and their capabilities in these cases, and not push for too much.
How Do I Get Approved?
The process starts with a talk to your physician, and an assessment of your situation by them. The doctor has to specifically give their opinion on whether they believe cannabis would be a relieving factor in your current state, after which they would have to get approval for your treatment from the ACT Chief Health Officer. That’s not the only administrative step to overcome, as they’ll also need to separately get approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for your specific case.
Keep in mind that unless you’re trying to get treatment for a condition outside of the default list, or there are any unusual points about your situation, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get rejected. Trying through a different physician in case of rejection is generally not a good idea though, as that might draw unnecessary attention from government agencies, both towards you as well as your physicians.
Can I Use Any Cannabis?
The kind of cannabis you can use for your treatment under this program is also strictly controlled by the government. It must either be produced locally – and legally, obviously – or have been imported under the appropriate program by the Commonwealth Department of Health. Make sure you pay attention to these details, and never attempt to supply yourself through alternative means. Obtaining a license for medical cannabis does not allow you to break the law in any way, and involving yourself with illegal drug deals is still punishable to the full extent of the law.
There is no provision at the moment for growing your own, so don’t attempt to go down that path either. Getting caught with plants in your home will not be a lighter situation for you compared to someone without a license, and you’ll be prosecuted with similar penalties. And considering that the government has actually made their system quite convenient when it comes to obtaining medical cannabis through legal channels, it really doesn’t make much sense to attempt to go about this another way.
It’s likely that some of these regulations might be relaxed in the near future, but this is merely speculation at this point. Until the government actually implements something in this direction, those with an interest in the field will have to remain patient and follow the news with a close eye. Many developed countries are moving in this direction lately though, and this is a very rapidly growing market. It’s also not unreasonable to expect Australia to become one of the major players on the global market for medical cannabis eventually, especially considering their attention to exports.