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) that have been found to have therapeutic benefits are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These are also the most studied cannabinoids.

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 one cannabis medicine has been fully assessed for safety, quality and efficacy and is registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARGT). This is nabiximols (Sativex®) for the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis. 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 

In Australia, recreational use of cannabis products remains illegal. If you use, sell or supply cannabis (leaf, resin or oil) to someone else and get caught, you could face significant fines and other penalties, including a prison sentence.