All you need to know about Australia’s burgeoning medicinal cannabis industry

The Australian medicinal cannabis market continues its strong growth trajectory, with experts anticipating the industry would grow faster than predicted earlier. Increased clinical research worldwide will likely encourage domestic regulators and doctors to expand the range of indications that can be treated by using medical cannabis.

Moreover, advances in medical cannabis technology, for instance, custom cannabinoids for specific indications, are expected to further boost the acceptance of medical cannabis in the market. Medicinal cannabis products are available in the form of pills, nasal sprays, and oils, among other formations. The products can be used to treat several indications, including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, and side effects related to chemotherapy, though access to cannabis products is strictly limited.

In December 2020, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) revealed its final decision of down-scheduling certain low dose CBD formulations from Schedule 4 to Schedule 3, i.e. from prescription medicine to pharmacist only medicine. With this decision, TGA approved low-dose CBD containing products (up to a maximum of 150 mg/day) can be provided as over-the-counter (OTC) medicine for use in adults without any prescription.

Australia is moving ahead in its developing medical cannabis industry. However, in the country, patients still confront challenges that affect the entire market. Until now, medical cannabis products are not registered as a medicine in Australia, so patients have to use special pathways (Special Access Scheme) to access the drug, and it can be a lengthy process.

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