​​​​Cannabis medicines are products used for therapeutic purposes that are either derived from the cannabis plant or are synthetically made to have similar effects to the substances found in the cannabis plant called cannabinoids. There are estimated to be more than 100 unique, naturally occurring cannabinoids. The two that have been most extensively studied are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Research is being conducted on the potential uses of other cannabinoids.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol is a Schedule 4 Prescription Only Medicine when in a preparation for therapeutic use and the cannabinoids component contains at least 98% cannabidiol and 2% or less of other cannabinoids found in cannabis.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Tetrahydrocannabinol is a Schedule 8 medicine when extracted from cannabis and prepared or packed for human therapeutic use.

Other substances

Nabiximols, nabilone, and dronabinol are listed in Schedule 8 of the Poisons Standard​​.

Cannabis medicine products

The only cannabis medicine products currently registered in Australia under the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) are Epidyolex® (cannabidiol) and Sativex® (nabiximols).

Most cannabis medicines available in Australia are unregistered or unapproved medicines. Unapproved medicines have not been assessed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for safety, quality, or effectiveness.

The evidence to support the use of cannabis based products in selected conditions is limited and of variable quality. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has published Medicinal cannabis - guidance documents​​​ for medicinal cannabis in treating multiple sclerosis, palliative care patients, epilepsy in paediatric and young adult patients, nausea and vomiting and chronic non-cancer pain.

For details on ​unapproved medicinal cannabis products refer to the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) Medicinal cannabis products by active ingredients​​​​.

Current as at: Friday 26 April 2024
Contact page owner: Pharmaceutical Services