Frequently asked questions on Schedule 3 cannabidiol:
What is medicinal cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis is any product (flower, oil, etc) that has been derived from the plant Cannabis Sativa.
What is in medicinal cannabis?
Extracts of medicinal cannabis usually contain many hundreds of different types of chemicals. The most important are the cannabinoids and the terpenes.
Which chemical in cannabis is responsible for the “high” effect?
The chemical responsible for the high of cannabis is called delta-9-cannabinol and it is commonly abbreviated as THC. Not all medicinal cannabis products contain THC.
How do I access medicinal cannabis in Australia?
Cannabis is available in Australia via a prescription from your health care provider (medical doctor and in some states a nurse practitioner).
Can any doctor prescribe cannabis?
Currently no. To do so, a doctor must either be an Authorised Prescriber OR apply to the Australian government for approval for you via the Special Access Scheme – B pathway.
Are there some types of cannabis that can be purchased without a prescription?
A medicinal cannabis product that meets Schedule 3 requirements can be purchased in pharmacies without a prescription. To meet the criteria of Schedule 3 they must be 98% cannabidiol (CBD) at a maximum dose of 150 mg per day. It can contain other cannabinoids to make up the other 2% of which no more than 1% can be THC.
Are there any schedule 3 – CBD medicines available in Australia?
Not yet. To be available they must be on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) which requires clinical trials data to demonstrate safety and efficacy. No manufacturer has yet been able to supply to data for their product to be in the ARTG as a Schedule 3 medicine.
AMCA is behind a new Veterans’ campaign to improve access, especially for those with PTSD not supported by DVA.
Chair and long-time cannabis campaigner Lucy Haslam spearheaded an initial fact-finding discussion on Tuesday 13th April with support groups, doctors, veterans and legal experts. There was an enthusiastic attendance with more than 25 people on the call.
This initiative will be a joint project with the Australian chapter of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCCAC) to address the lack of access or funding for veterans.
Lucy recently joined Cannabiz co-founder, Martin Lane and editor-at-large, Rhys Cohen in the Green Room to discuss the campaign for proper veteran access and plans for this year’s Australian Medicinal Cannabis Symposium (https://www.cannabiz.com.au/the-green-room-the-campaign-for-veteran-access).
The campaign to improve access for veterans-in-need kicked off on 22nd April with a Change.org petition that already has more than 10,000 signatures.
We'll continue to keep our members updated.
We contacted the Office of Medicinal Cannabis in the Victorian Department of Health when we heard it was planning to reimpose the need for state approval for S8 medicines from 29th March.
Last year, the Victorian S8 permit requirements were suspended via a Covid-triggered Public Health Emergency Order #6. For the past 12 months, Victorian GPs have only needed TGA sign-off to prescribe cannabis.
However, the streamlined process came to an end on March 28 when the emergency order expired. Since that date, all registered Victorian medical practitioners and nurse practitioners are required to apply for a Schedule 8 permit when prescribing a Schedule 8 medicinal cannabis product (i.e. a product containing >2% THC), noting existing exemptions for permit requirements when prescribing to some patients.
The Victorian Schedule 8 permit system is currently under review and the department has recently surveyed prescribers (via KPMG) to gain an understanding of their views towards the Schedule 8 permit system. This survey closed on 14 March 2021 and will assist in determining whether there is a role for the S8 Permit System moving forward. However, the Office has advised AMCA that, unfortunately, it is not able to advise on the timeframe for when any decision will be made regarding S8 permits.
29 January 2021
AMCA lodged a submission to the TGA on behalf of our members regarding potential reforms to medicinal cannabis manufacturing, labelling and packaging requirements.
18 December 2020
AMCA lodged a submission to the ODC on behalf of our members regarding Medicinal Cannabis Permit reform.
18 December 2020
AMCA Chair and recently appointed Drive Change Ambassador, Lucy Haslam, attended the inaugural Drive Change Friends & Supporters meeting. We are delighted to see our own AMCA Ambassadors, David Heilpern and Mick Palmer, working alongside Fiona Patten, MP and the rest of the committed Drive Change team, campaigning tirelessly for drug driving law reform for patients using medicinal cannabis.
AMCA and its partner organisation, SCCAC, are proud to continue to support Drive Change in its commitment to help create drug driving law reform that’s fair, equal, and improves public health.
17 December 2020
AMCA Company Secretary and Lawyer, Dr. Teresa Nicoletti provided our opinion for a Cannabiz article on the TGA down-scheduling decision on cannabidiol.
16 December 2020
We held the first of our Interest Groups, as outlined during our AGM, on 16th December. This Industry/Regulatory/Legal Interest Group focused on two topics - 1. GMP requirements for imported medicinal cannabis products to those that are domestically manufactured and 2. ODC Medicinal Cannabis Permit Reform. The meeting was very well attended by 25 members and input from the meeting is being used in submissions from the AMCA for consultations regarding these topics by the TGA and ODC respectively.
Our inaugural AGM was held on 28th October and was extremely well attended. Thanks to the nearly 60 of our members who joined the Zoom meeting and to Rhys Cohen for providing essential technical assistance!
The AGM introduced our members to AMCA's Founders, Board and Ambassadors as well as its Foundation Partners and Collaborative Partners (see our website for more).
Lucy Haslam, the Chair, presented AMCA's Vision, Mission and belief that it is essential to have a broad mix of members to meet the needs of each facet of the complex medicinal cannabis industry. Our current membership of more than 90 individuals and organisations, from patients and their HCPs through to industry and research, reflects this diversity.
The GM, Gail Wiseman, outlined the Association's priorities, actions to date and plans for the future, including a new structure to enable members' voices to be heard, issues raised and action plans and solutions to be produced.
During the meeting, eligible members were invited to vote for an additional Industry Board Director from 6 high calibre nominees. Joel Hardy from Cymra Life Sciences was elected. We congratulate Joel on his appointment and thank all of the nominees who put themselves forward for election.