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Fact Sheet 

Medicinal cannabis   information 
for General Practitioners (GPs) 
Since 2016, cannabis for medical use is regulated as a medicine in Australia, 
including South Australia.   

To provide support for patients wishing to access this treatment and clarity for health 

professionals, the South Australian patient access pathway was introduced in April 2017.  

Under the pathway, legal requirements for medicinal cannabis are aligned with those of other 

medicines in the same Schedule.   For Schedule 8 medicinal cannabis products, this includes 

exemptions from state approval apply for patients aged 70 or older and Notified Palliative Care 

Patients.  Schedule 4 cannabidiol (CBD) medicines do not require a state approval in South 


Product availability 

Currently in Australia there is only one approved (registered for use on the Australian Register 

of Therapeutic Goods) medicinal cannabis medicine, nabiximols (Sativex ). Sativex is 

approved for symptom improvement in multiple sclerosis related spasticity. Being a registered 

medicine, there is approved Product Information to support medical practitioners in making 

treatment decisions about its use.  

There are many unregistered medicinal cannabis products available in Australia via licensed 

importers and suppliers. The Commonwealth Office of Drug Control (ODC) publishes details of 

approved suppliers and contact details on its website and medical practitioners can contact 

suppliers directly for information about their products.   

Clinical information 

There is a range of information and clinical resources to support patients and health 

professionals interested in learning about medicinal cannabis available through online sources.    

The SA Health website provides information and resources for health professionals and 

consumers including: 

? Legal requirements for prescribing and information about exemptions 

? How to apply for approval to prescribe a product 

? Frequently Asked Questions 

? Factsheets 

? Links to other relevant information and contacts 

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has comprehensive information on its website 

about medicinal cannabis. This includes a series of guidance documents about use in: 

? Multiple sclerosis 

? Palliative care 

? Epilepsy in paediatric and young adults 

? Prevention or management of nausea and vomiting  

? Chronic non-cancer pain 

? Consumer information  


The TGA also has a blog about medicinal cannabis covering the regulatory framework, clinical 

evidence and patient access,  as well as extensive information about access to medicinal 

cannabis products including FAQs, printable resources and information for patients. 

The Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence (ACRE) is 

funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and provides 

comprehensive information, publications and resources. 

ACRE has developed a series of prescribing guidance documents in collaboration with NSW 

Health for the following conditions: 

? Anorexia Cachexia in Advanced Cancer 

? Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV) 

? Nausea in Palliative Care 

? Dementia 

? Non-Cancer Pain 

? Spasticity 

Some useful resources have also come out of the United Kingdom, including the UK National 

Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline covering prescribing of cannabis 

based medicines published in November 2019, following comprehensive evaluation of their 

clinical and cost-effectiveness. 

The NHS England also published a review in August 2019 aimed at assessing the barriers to 

prescribing medicinal cannabis with a main focus on severe treatment-resistant epilepsy.  

Supporting this extensive online information, advice about medicines is available through the 

SA Pharmacy Medicines Information Service for health practitioners, patients and members of 

the public on (08) 8161 7555 during business hours. 

Professional development and online learning for GPs 

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is hosting Continuous Professional Development 

(CPD) modules on the Special Access Scheme (SAS) and Authorised Prescriber (AP) scheme. 

These modules also include information on access to medicinal cannabis and are linked on the 

TGA website. 

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has a free webinar series available on 

its website about prescribing medicinal cannabis products in general practice. This is presented 

by NSW Health clinicians covering current evidence and availability and prescribing in general 





For more information 
Medicines and Technology Programs 

Department for Health and Wellbeing 

SA Health 



Public I1-A1 

  Department for Health and Wellbeing, Government of South Australia. All rights reserved.