Department of Health

Key messages

  • Information and resources to support medical professionals prescribe medicinal cannabis.

Medicinal cannabis prescribing data

Most medicinal cannabis products available in Australia are unapproved medicines, requiring approval from the Commonwealth Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) before a they can be prescribed. The TGA publishes de-identified data on the number of unapproved medicinal cannabis products accessed through their Special Access Scheme (SAS) via their Medicinal Cannabis Access Data DashboardExternal Link , a web-based platform that allows the public to access and filter this data through interactive graphs.

Clinical Guidance and other key documents

The documents linked below may be used by Australian medical practitioners to help inform their decision-making about patient treatment options with medicinal cannabis products.

The provision of this information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the use of medicinal cannabis, or cannabis and cannabinoids generally, by the Department of Health.

TGA Clinical Guidance documents

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), together with Victoria and other States, has developed a series of clinical guidance documents to assist doctors and patients to understand the evidence for the potential uses of medicinal cannabis.

These guidance documents have been based on evidence reviews conducted by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) and cover the following medical conditions:

The TGA website also provides links to bibliographies of the major studies used in developing the guidance documents, all of which can be found on the TGA's websiteExternal Link .

(last updated: February 2020)

Other key documents

Health Canada

(last updated: Spring 2018)

Health Canada has prepared a document summarising peer-reviewed literature and international reviews concerning potential therapeutic uses and harmful effects of cannabis and cannabinoids.

Please note that this document is not a systematic review or meta-analysis of the literature, and it has not rigorously evaluated or graded the quality and weight of the available evidence.

To access this document, visit Health Canada's websiteExternal Link .

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (US)

(last updated: January 2017)

The National Academies have prepared a report investigating the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids.

This report summarizes the current state of evidence regarding what is known about the health impacts of cannabis and cannabis-derived products, including effects related to therapeutic uses of cannabis and potential health risks related to certain cancers, diseases, mental health disorders, and injuries.

The access this document, visit the National Academies' websiteExternal Link .

Training and education

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has developed a webinar series on understanding cannabis medicinesExternal Link . These webinars are presented by representatives from the RACGP, NSW Health and the NSW Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service.

Please note that Part 2 contains information specific to prescribing medicinal cannabis in NSW.

Accredited courses for medical practitioners about medicinal cannabis can also be accessed through the following providers:

Research and clinical trial updates

Research update

The Office of Medicinal Cannabis previously provided quarterly updates on current research evaluating the therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis. These updates contained summaries of significant, peer reviewed journal articles relating to medicinal cannabis which had been recently published.

The articles included in this document have not been evaluated by subject matter experts and should be used as a complement to other reliable sources of information. The Office of Medicinal Cannabis does not endorse or give assurances as to the quality of the articles contained within this document.

Last updated: September 2020

CBD Safety Study

A Victorian Government sponsored study into the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of a new formulation of cannabidiol (CBD) in healthy adults has now been published.

The new formulation demonstrated a favourable safety and tolerability profile, providing valuable evidence demonstrating the safety of CBD.

Access to the peer-reviewed paper is free and can be found hereExternal Link .

Clinical trials

There are a number of clinical trials underway both internationally and in Australia exploring medicinal cannabis.

All domestic clinical trials must be registered on the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR). You can search for relevant clinical trials on the ANZCTR website. We encourage patients who are interested in participating in a clinical trial to search the Registry with their treating doctor. Doctors that would like to receive alerts for when new clinical trials are registered with the ANZCTR can also subscribe hereExternal Link .

The Office of Medicinal Cannabis previously compiled quarterly updates summarising current clinical trials investigating the therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis. The last update, which summarises clinical trials underway at the time of publishing, can be accessed below,

Last updated: September 2020

Available Products

There are currently only two medicinal cannabis products listed as approved medicines on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG):

  • Nabiximols External Link (Sativex ® ), a schedule 8 controlled drug approved for the treatment of spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.
  • Epidyolex (Cannabidiol), a Schedule 4 prescription only medicine approved as an adjunctive therapy of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut or Dravet syndrome for patients 2 years of age and older.

To assist health care professionals in identifying and prescribing unapproved medicinal cannabis products not entered on the ARTG, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has published a list of available productsExternal Link by category of active ingredient, along with sponsor details.

The Office of Drug Control (ODC) also publishes an updated list of importers and manufacturers of medicinal cannabis productsExternal Link on its website.

It is important to note that unapproved products can currently only be prescribed via the Authorised Prescriber or Special Access Scheme. Please visit the Health Professionals page on this website for more information on choosing products and prescribing medicinal cannabis.

Reviewed 14 March 2022


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