Cannabis medicines

About cannabis medicines

Cannabis medicines refer to cannabis-derived products used for therapeutic purposes. The two main cannabinoids (a group of over 200 active chemical compounds found in cannabis) found to have therapeutic benefits are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These are also the most studied cannabinoids. There is also research underway exploring the therapeutic potential of other cannabinoids, such as cannabidivarin. 

Cannabis medicines can be a combination of both THC and CBD or only THC or CBD, depending on the health condition for which they are prescribed. There are a range of routes of administration, including vaporising, oral administration, oro-mucosal sprays, topical and smoking. As it is difficult to estimate the amount of THC an individual patient is receiving through smoking cannabis products, and due to the well-documented evidence that smoking in general is harmful, smoking of cannabis products is not supported.

Cannabis medicines in Australia

In Australia, cannabis medicines are regulated within a medical framework to ensure the health and safety of patients. Currently only two cannabis medicines have been fully assessed for safety, quality and efficacy and are registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). These are nabiximols (Sativex®) for the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis, and Epidyolex® for treatment of seizures associated woth Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome. All other cannabis medicines are unregistered, experimental and their effects on different people are still being studied.   

If you are a patient, refer to the Product section of this website for more information on cannabis medicines in Australia. 

If you are a health professional, refer to the Product section of this website for more information on cannabis medicines in Australia. 

Cannabis and the law  

Recreational use of cannabis products remains illegal in NSW. If you use, grow, sell or supply cannabis (leaf, resin or oil) to someone else and get caught, you could face penalties, such as a significant fine or a prison sentence.