Restrictions to medicinal cannabis access eases in WA

GP's in WA are now authorised to prescribe medicinal cannabis without specialist approval making it easier for patients to access treatment.

The change brings WA closer into line with other Australian jurisdictions including New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

By eliminating the need for a specialist prescription, patients who suffer conditions such as multiple sclerosis and chronic pain can access medicinal cannabis through a visit to their GP.

Doctors will still be required to seek specialist approval when prescribing for children under the age of 16 and for patients who are drug dependent or have a history of drug use.

The change comes following a Department of Health review of three years of prescribing data, collated since the Commonwealth first introduced legislative changes to allow the manufacture of medical cannabis products.

From November 2016 until August 2019 there were 876 approvals to prescribe medicinal cannabis in WA.

Medicinal cannabis products are not approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration or funded by the federally controlled Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme.

They remain classified as controlled drugs throughout Australia.

Health minister Roger Cook said medicinal cannabis was often prescribed as a drug of last resort for people who were suffering and in terrible pain.

"Whilst the listing of medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is the responsibility of the Federal Government, it is important for the Commonwealth to have a flexible system that expedites affordable access to new and emerging healthcare treatments," he said.

This story Better access to medicinal cannabis in WA first appeared on Busselton-Dunsborough Mail.