When was medicinal cannabis legalised in Australia?

On 30 October 2016, the Australian government changed our laws on medicinal cannabis.  Amendments to the Narcotics Drugs Act 1967 were made to allow for the cultivation and manufacturing of cannabis for medicinal and/or research purposes. 

Since then, Scheduling for medicinal cannabis changed from Schedule 9 to: 

  • Schedule 8 – Controlled Medicines:  Medicinal cannabis products containing THC
  • Schedule 4 – Prescription Only Medicines: CBD dominant products where;
    a) CBD comprises 98% or more of the total cannabinoid content; and 
    b)  any cannabinoids other than CBD must be only those naturally found in cannabis and comprise 2% or less of the total cannabinoid content.
I am a new patient looking to explore medicinal cannabis as a treatment option. Is medicinal cannabis legal?

Yes, medicinal cannabis can be prescribed by any doctor in Australia. 

Before a doctor is able to write you a prescription, doctors are required to attain SAS-B or Authorised Prescriber approval via the TGA. Doctors in certain states may also require relevant State Government approval(s).

You can book in an eligibility screening appointment with our dispensary team here: Initial Screening Consultation

Can I drive with my legally prescribed medicinal cannabis?

Patients should not drive or operate machinery while being treated with medicinal cannabis. In addition measurable concentrations of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol – the main psychoactive substance in cannabis) can be detected in urine many days after the last dose. It may take up to five days for 80 to 90 per cent of the dose to be excreted. 

The current drug driving laws continue to discriminate against patients who are on legally prescribed medicinal cannabis and/or could potentially benefit from legally prescribed medicinal cannabis. Drug-driving (with the presence of THC) is a criminal offence, and patients should discuss the implications for safe and legal driving with their doctor.

Do I have to use a vaporiser? If so, can I use any vaporiser?

For patients prescribed flowers in Australia, it is recommended to use a TGA registered device. Currently, there is only one company that has a registered device in Australia – that is Storz and Bickel. You can read more about these devices here: Vaporisers

I want to learn more about plant based medicine but not sure where to start. Where can I go?

To learn more about plant based medicine, check out Honahlee. Honahlee is a patient educational space created to destigmatize and support your journey. Check out Honalee here: Guide to Medicinal Cannabis in Australia. Further to this, the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) also provides a great overview for patients on this video link.

Do I need to carry a copy of my scripts around with me?

No, but it would help to carry a doctors letter just in case!

How do I refill my scripts?

You can refill your scripts by just texting or calling us! Check out the process here

Does Astrid have a catalogue?

As medicinal cannabis is an unregistered medicine in Australia, we cannot advertise lists or products publicly or online. Please speak to your prescribing doctor for further information.

I have already been prescribed medicinal cannabis by an authorised doctor but I would like to transfer my scripts to Astrid.  Can I transfer my scripts to Astrid? If so, how?
Will my health insurance company cover my cost?

Some health insurance companies will cover some cost, but it depends on your level of cover. Check out Honalee for a comprehensive list: honahlee.com.au/articles/health-insurance-cover-cbd-cannabis

What happens if I experience an adverse effect? Who do I contact?

If you are experiencing any serious adverse effects, please seek medical attention immediately. Common serious side effects include: increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, severe panic attacks. 

If you’re feeling some side effects but not sure if they are severe, you can still let us know!  Common non-serious side effects are dizziness, dry mouth, drowsiness. Fill out the Adverse Event form here

Do my prescriptions have an expiry date? How long do scripts last for?

Yes! Schedule 4 scripts are valid for 12 months from the date that it is written. Schedule 8 scripts are valid for 6 months from the date it is written. Please note, most flower scripts are Schedule 8 scripts in Australia – therefore will only last for 6 months. 

I just had my consultation with my doctor today. How do I get my scripts filled from Astrid?

After your doctor’s consultation, it can take 24 before we receive the script, and a further 24 hours before one of our pharmacists will touch base with you to walk you through your prescriptions. Please allow for 24-48 hours following doctor consultation.

I want to try plant based medicines but I’m not sure if I am eligible. How do I find out?

To find out if you are eligible to access plant-based medicines, speak to our friendly nurse or pharmacist at Astrid who will be able to provide further information around regulations, as well as a general chat on your overall well-being! Book a screening consultation

My GP doesn’t know much about plant based medicine. How can I help my GP access more information?

If your GP is seeking more information on plant based medicine, they can access information via the following sources. 

My GP doesn’t know how to prescribe medicinal cannabis. How do I find a specialist cannabis doctor?

We definitely recommend speaking to your GP first, as they will have the best understanding of your overall health condition. However, in instances where your GP does not prescribe plant medicines, we can assist you by referring you to one of our affiliated doctors (if you are eligible). Book a screening consultation with our clinic here.

Will my medicines be covered on the PBS?

No, all SAS-B or AP pathway medicinal cannabis products are non-ARTG or non-PBS items currently in Australia. Therefore, it is not currently listed on the PBS and are considered private scripts.

I have already been prescribed medicinal cannabis by an authorised doctor but I would like to change doctors and transfer my scripts to Astrid.
What do I do if I want to change strains?

As Astrid is your dispensing pharmacy, our pharmacists do not have the ability to change strains or prescribe different products for you. Any changes to prescription product or strains must be done by your prescribing doctor. Once we have your new strain script, we can dispense your new strain. We cannot do so without relevant paperwork.

Can I travel with my legally prescribed medicinal cannabis?

Domestic travel: Yes, you are able to travel with your prescribed medicinal cannabis. If you are a patient that has a valid prescription for medicinal cannabis, you have the right to travel with your medicine. Prescribed cannabis is no different from any other medication, just make sure you do not take any of your medication out of the dispensed container as your pharmacy label is a legal document to verify that it is a prescribed medication. International travel: If you are travelling overseas, we highly recommend that you contact the Consular office/Consulate of the country that you are travelling to. Each international jurisdiction will have different policies to whether you are allowed to bring medicinal cannabis as a legal medication. Always confirm that it is legal to bring your prescribed medicinal cannabis  as some countries would require a permit. To get more information, visit https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/