General practitioners in Western Australia will be able to prescribe medical cannabis to patients

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General practitioners in Western Australia will be able to prescribe medical cannabis to patients

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Major cannabis development are happening in Australia right now. Based on recent reports, medical practitioners in Western Australia will now legally be allowed to prescribe cannabis to patients, without referring them to a specialist beforehand. 

This isn’t the only major development happening in Australia’s medical cannabis industry as of late. Following a successful vote by the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly on September 25, the country’s capital, Canberra, legalized recreational cannabis for personal use.

Australia’s updated medical cannabis rules puts the westernmost state’s law in keeping with other jurisdictions like Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. As a direct effect of the new rule, patient numbers are anticipated to swell in the coming months.

“Clearly this is great for patients and for medicinal cannabis producers, with producers having the important task of educating stakeholders, including the medical fraternity,” said Fleta Solomon, who assumes the role of managing director for Little Green Pharma in West Perth.

Lower expenses will make obtaining medical cannabis in Australia easier

Eliminating the need to visit a specialist prior to obtaining medical cannabis in Australia will increase patient access, says Solomon. Currently, the process of enrolling in an Australian medical cannabis program is time-consuming and often frustrating, since it is not easy to track down a specialist in this field of medicine just yet. Plus, patients usually have to pay for a specialist’s time; this will no longer be a concern for Western Australia’s medical cannabis consumers.

According to a recent statement from the state government, patients who endure the symptoms of various chronic conditions – including chronic pain and multiple sclerosis – will now be able to get their hands on medical cannabis in Australia after visiting a doctor. However, patients aged 16 and below will need to visit a specialist provider. The same applies for individuals who have experienced drug abuse in the past.

“The new changes bring Western Australia closer into line with other states and territories and follow detailed analysis of three years worth of data by the WA Department of Health,” state Health Minister Roger Cook said in a statement.

Patient enrollment in Australia’s medical cannabis market predicted to climb progressively

As the process of obtaining a prescription for medical cannabis in Australia improves, more patients are enrolling. State and federal regulations have simplified the process of getting a prescription, with almost 3,600 people being approved in October alone. This is a major increase from the 2000 patients that were enrolled in late 2018.

By the end of the year, more than 10,000 patients are expected to be active in Australia’s medical campus market. This is based on data released by FreshLeaf Analytics – an analytics firm based in North Sydney.