- Legal medical cannabis in Victoria is only available with a doctor’s prescription.
- Patients in Victoria are using medical cannabis to help manage a wide range of conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and many other conditions.
- Regulated, legal cannabis products are tested for quality, safety and consistency while “green” market products are often mislabeled and can contain harmful substances.
- Due to increased competition, regulated, legal cannabis products are cheaper if not the same price as “green” market products.
- If your regular doctor is unwilling to prescribe, you can do our quick eligibility test and book in directly with one of our medical cannabis Melbourne doctors.
Is Medical Cannabis Legal in Victoria?
Accessing medical cannabis in Melbourne and regional Victoria has been legal since 2016. Access is regulated by the TGA and Victoria State Health. Similar to NSW and QLD, any type of doctor in Victoria can prescribe medicinal cannabis for any patient with any condition if they believe it is clinically appropriate and have obtained the required approvals.
In Victoria, medical cannabis (including CBD oil) is only available as a prescription from a doctor. If your local doctor is not willing to prescribe you can book an appointment with one of our medical cannabis doctors here. To help improve accessibility we offer telehealth (phone & video) consultations to patients located in Victoria.
Difference Between Legal Medical Marijuana and Recreational Marijuana
Legal medical marijuana is very different to recreational black market marijuana. Legal medical cannabis products are tested by regulatory authorities to ensure quality control. These products must abide by strict quality standards that test for molds, bacteria, fungus, toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides.
Black market marijuana will vary in strength from batch to batch, making finding your ideal dose very difficult. Considering many legal medical cannabis products are now cheaper than black market, it makes little sense to go the black market route. You can check your eligibility via our quick medical cannabis eligibility form.
Medical Cannabis Victoria Special Access Scheme
Medical cannabis products in Victoria are generally not listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. This means that your doctor will need to apply to the TGA for a special permit before writing a medical cannabis prescription. The doctor needs to apply for a permit for each product prescribed so there can be quite a lot of paperwork involved as many medical cannabis patients find they need to trial a few different products to find the best one for them.
Cannabis Authorised Prescribers in Melbourne, Victoria
Some medical cannabis doctors in Melbourne have applied to be Authorised Prescribers for certain medical cannabis products. This means they don’t need TGA approval each time they write a medical cannabis prescription. However the authority is based on each product so it may be the case that if you need a prescription for a medical cannabis product for which the doctor is not an Authorised Prescriber, they will still need to apply for a SAS B approval permit.
What Medical Cannabis Products Are Available to Prescribe in Victoria?
Medical cannabis products in Victoria fall under either Schedule 4 (CBD only) or Schedule 8 (CBD + THC). Similar to other Schedule 8 products, medical cannabis S8 products require a separate Victorian Schedule 8 treatment permit.
There are now over 150 different medical cannabis products available for prescription in Victoria. The wide range includes oils, flower (for vaping), capsules and oral sprays. The products fall under 3 general categories:
- CBD products (containing mostly CBD)
- Balanced (containing equal parts CBD and THC)
- THC products (containing mostly THC)
The doctor will be able to tell you which product is best suited for your condition. Generally, patients may need to try more than one product and dosage to find their ideal therapeutic effect.
What Medical Conditions Can Medical Cannabis Be Used for in Victoria?
A common misconception is that medical cannabis is only available to Victorian patients with specific conditions (i.e. Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy etc.) This is incorrect. There is no list of eligible conditions and the TGA will consider any condition that has not responded to conventional treatment. The only condition is that medical cannabis in Victoria is not a first line treatment and patients have tried at least one prescription medication before being eligible.
The list of conditions that the TGA have approved on a case by case basis for medical cannabis is long and includes:
Epilepsy / Seizure management, ADHD symptoms, Fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s disease, Glaucoma, Anorexia, Insomnia, Anxiety, Ischemia Arthritis, Migraines, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms, Multiple Sclerosis, Neuropathic pain, Cancer Pain, Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), Parkinson’s Disease, Polymyalgia Rheumatica, Chronic pain, Neuropathy, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, Dementia, PTSD, Depression, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sleep disorders, Endometriosis, Spasticity from neurological conditions, Epilepsy and Tremors.
This is not an exhaustive list and new conditions are always being approved. The most common reasons we see people using medical cannabis in the clinic are for all types of chronic pain as well as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. A systematic review of the clinical evidence conducted to date is available here.
Is It Legal to Drive While Taking Medical Cannabis in Victoria?
This depends on what formulation you are prescribed by your doctor. Patients taking CBD only formulations (that don’t contain any THC) can lawfully drive, as long as they are not impaired.
However if your medication contains any THC, than it is illegal to drive as you will most likely have traces of THC in your system long after you’ve medicated.
Where Do I Get My Medical Cannabis Prescription Filled in Victoria?
Any pharmacy is allowed to dispense medical cannabis in Victoria. However most pharmacies are not familiar with the process or the medication. Some pharmacies may refuse to fill your cannabis prescription. Some may charge outrageous prices for the hassle.
We advise patients at our clinic to use our preferred Victorian pharmacy located in Melbourne. This ensure patients will have access to a knowledgeable pharmacist trained and experienced in cannabis medicine who can provide appropriate counseling. Scripts will also be filled much faster, without confusion and no chance of getting ripped off with outrageous markups.
How Much Does Medicinal Cannabis Cost in Victoria?
The amount patients spend on medical cannabis in Victoria is highly variable. The cost depends on their condition and the product/formulation they are prescribed.
With certain types of pain for example, balanced products containing both CBD and THC are ‘stronger’ than CBD only products. Patients using balanced products in this case will typically spend less than patients trying to achieve the same results with CBD only.
Medical cannabis products are not listed on the PBS, so patients have to pay out of pocket. However more and more health insurance plans are starting to include coverage so check with your plan if you have one.
Medical cannabis is a very personalized medication and patients will need to work with the doctor to find their ideal formulation and dose. When looking at averages, most patients in Victoria pay between $4 – $8 per day for their medication – roughly the same as two cups of coffee.
Many Australians are still sourcing their medical cannabis from the “green” market as medical cannabis is perceived to be expensive. Although these days the price of legal, regulated cannabis is on par or cheaper than illegal, unregulated “green” market products.
The recent CAMS-18 survey reports that patients sourcing from the “green” market spend about the same as legal medical cannabis patients using the legal route.
Can I Bring Medicinal Cannabis Into Victoria From Overseas?
If you are travelling to Australia, you are able to carry up to a 3 months’ supply of medicinal cannabis for yourself or a passenger in your care, provided you have the relevant prescription from a medical practitioner. However you should confirm this with the Office of Drug Control before travelling.
How Can I Access Medical Cannabis in Melbourne or Regional Victoria?
The best place to start is to speak to your regular doctor. If they feel uncomfortable prescribing, they can refer you to our clinic by filling out and sending back our referral form.
If your regular doctor won’t refer you, you can take our quick eligibility test and book in directly with one of our medical cannabis doctors who can help you get started.
Australian Access Clinics has been helping Victorian patients access medical cannabis treatment since 2019.