Frequently Asked Questions

Medicinal cannabis

Any GP in Australia can prescribe medical cannabis, however many choose not to if they are unfamiliar with the therapeutic actions. To access medical cannabis you can check your eligibility via CA Connect and receive a free virtual consultation. For complex conditions requiring additional care, doctors at CA Clinics help process medical cannabis applicants and provide ongoing support.

If you take our free virtual consult and are not eligible via CA Connect’s pathway, you will be redirected to CA Clinics  for further information or alternatively, please call 1300 991 477.

Please note: Not all patients or conditions are suitable for medical cannabis therapies. According to TGA guidelines, there must be some evidence that medicinal cannabis treatment can be applied to your condition and that you have exhausted conventional therapies. However, please still call 1300 991 477 to discuss your case further.

Medical cannabis was legalised in Australia in October 2016. The Therapeutic Goods Administration provides guidance on what conditions medical cannabis may be prescribed for. Primarily these are limited to chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chemotherapy-induced nausea and palliative care.

Medical cannabis is prescribed via the Special Access Scheme (SAS), as cannabinoid medicines are classified as “uncontrolled medicines” not registered under the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). 

Patients can be prescribed medical cannabis through SAS category A, where they visit an Authorised Prescriber, usually a specialist. Or, more commonly, through SAS category B where a physician evaluates the suitability of medical cannabis for individual patients and processes the application through the TGA, applications are usually approved within 24 hours.

Although medical cannabis prescriptions have grown exponentially improving the lives of innumerable individuals, with the exception of two products (Sativex and Epidyolex) there are still no registered medical cannabis products under ARTG, and Epidyolex (for Dravet syndrome) is thus far the only cannabinoid medicine subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Recently the TGA re-scheduled cannabidiol (CBD) from prescription-only, to pharmacist only. This means patients can access low dose CBD, 150mg/day, without a doctor’s prescription. Products are not yet available in pharmacies but you can access CBD through CA Connect who help prescribe the best CBD medicine for you.

CBD oil in Australia

CBD oil can be extracted from the leaves, stalk, and flowers of the cannabis plant and manufactured with a carrier oil such as hemp, olive or MCT oil. CBD oil can be ingested sublingually, topically, in capsules or mixed with food or drinks. Globally many people choose CBD oil for its range of therapeutic properties.

CBD and THC are both cannabinoids found in the cannabis species, however, they each have very distinct effects and chemical structure. They are both psychoactive, though only THC has intoxicating effects. 

CBD’s psychoactive properties mean it can be helpful in conditions like anxiety or depression. It’s well researched for epilepsy patients and other conditions associated with seizures. CBD may be useful in inflammatory conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome or arthritis

THC is also anti-inflammatory, it is well indicated in painful conditions, where there is nausea or poor appetite due to chemotherapy. In certain doses, it may be helpful for anxiety disorders, muscle spasticity and glaucoma.

See the Why CBD page to discover the health conditions that are more suitable for low-dose CBD. 

More complex and serious conditions may require a different approach to medical cannabis treatment which can be managed by CA Clinics and could  include but is not limited to conditions such as:

Other conditions where CBD oil is being researched include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, appetite disorders, endometriosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and a range of other inflammatory conditions.

For up to date information from the Therapeutic Goods Administration on medicinal cannabis click here.

CBD is generally regarded as having a good tolerability and safety profile. However, just like any medication that alters physiological function, CBD oil may elicit side effects in some individuals. Commonly experienced side effects of CBD oil include; drowsiness, dry mouth, and gastrointestinal discomfort. Other less common adverse events include altered liver enzymes and drug-drug or drug-nutrient interactions.

For more information regarding potential side effects please visit the TGA’s website here.

CBD oil in Australia can be used for a range of different conditions and it is the condition or symptom being addressed that determines how CBD oil is used or prescribed. With all cannabis medicines, it is always best to start low and go slow. Begin using CBD oil at a low dose and slowly increase until the desired therapeutic effect and symptom relief is achieved. This is always best done under the supervision of a trained prescribing doctor.

Some might experience certain side effects on CBD medication, depending on factors such as patient age, size and dosage. Patients are advised to discuss any concerns with their CA Connect doctor or call 1300 991 477.

Depending on the dose and the condition, CBD oil can feel different for individuals. In circumstances where CBD oil in Australia is treating anxiety, it has the potential to initiate a feeling of relaxation, calm and enhance mood.

In terms of pain, for some people, CBD oil can act as a pain reliever eliciting much the same feeling as ibuprofen. Others describe CBD oil as offering a soothing feeling of relief from pain and tension, both physically and mentally, akin to having a warm bath.

CBD oil is non-intoxicating, thus it is unlikely to make a patient feel ‘high’, euphoric or paranoid, as is the case for some individuals with cannabis formulations including THC.

Hemp seed oil comes from the small seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. The seeds do not contain the same levels of compounds as the plant itself, but they still have a rich profile of nutrients, fatty acids, and useful bioactive compounds.

Hemp oil is not the same as cannabidiol (CBD) oil. The production of CBD oil uses the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant, which contain a higher concentration of CBD, another potentially beneficial compound in the plant.

Hemp oil sold as a food or cosmetic product is restricted to have less than 75mg/kg of CBD. This equates to 0.0075% CBD, thus legally available hemp oil in Australia is not a viable source of CBD.

Additionally, CBD oil medicines can be made with hemp oil as the carrier oil. This means medically prescribed CBD oil products will have much different cannabidiol quantities delivered in hemp oil than food products with food-grade hemp oil.

MCT oil is a supplement made from a type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides. MCT molecules are smaller than those in most of the fat you would generally consume (long-chain triglycerides). This makes them easier to digest and be absorbed quickly. 

MCT can be drived from coconuts, but it is a much more concentrated compound when compared to coconut oil. MCT oil contains 100% MCTs, whereas coconut oil only contains about 45% – 65% MCTs

CBD does not make you feel high. THC is the primary cannabinoid that initiates the euphoric or psychotropic experience of cannabis, due to interactions with the body’s endocannabinoid system.

CBD doesn’t interact with the endocannabinoid system in the same way as THC, making CBD non-intoxicating. Some liken the mood-enhancing effects of CBD to the experience of taking a warm bath or ibuprofen for those who need pain relief.

Despite CBD having an excellent safety profile and is well-tolerated, current advice does not support its use during pregnancy. There is not enough research available on the safety of CBD during pregnancy to endorse its use. 

CBD is a lipid-soluble substance meaning it can diffuse into breast milk, there is limited safety data on how that might affect infants. For more information talk to your prescribing physician about CBD safety and pregnancy.

All our prescribed medications are vegan, gluten free and cruelty free.

Your virtual consultation is completely free. 

Medicinal cannabis is not generally covered by insurance as it’s not on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), with the exception of Epidyolex for Dravet syndrome. But we recommend consulting your private insurer to check your individual policy.

If you are a DVA card holder, you may be eligible for medication and consultation rebates by the DVA. This process needs to be completed via the CA Clinics website (hyperlink). Each case is assessed and funded by the DVA based on its own merit. To find out more, call 1300 991 477.

THC is the primary cannabinoid found in cannabis. THC interacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system stimulating physiological processes associated with pain relief, anti-nausea, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and appetite-stimulating effects. For patients, this means THC may help relieve chronic pain, spasticity, cancer-induced anorexia and inflammatory conditions.

THC is accessible as a legal medicine in Australia via the TGA Special Access Scheme pathways. It is a schedule 8 controlled substance meaning it is only legal when prescribed by a doctor.

Your GP can prescribe THC containing medical cannabis formulations or refer you to CA Clinics for further care

CA Connect offers streamlined prescriptions of low dose CBD medicines under the supervised guidance of the health professionals at CA Connect. THC medicine requires a more comprehensive assessment by a medical physician to determine the appropriate dose and formulation required. 

Terpenes

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in a wide variety of plants which produce the distinct yet varied aromas of a plant. Through a phenomenon known as the entourage effect they create synergistic effects in the body.

Yes, all plants contain terpenes. CBD oil also contains terpenes but not all the terpenes that can be found in the cannabis plant. Different terpenes can have differing effects in the body.

Depending on the terpene product you buy, the formulation may be appropriate for the health concern as indicated including emotional stress, irritability and restlessness; management of aches and muscle and joint tension; or sleep and insomnia.

Please reference each individual product for health benefits and ingredients.

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds in cannabis. THC and CBD are the most well-known cannabinoids but they are just two of over 100 cannabinoids

that the cannabis plant contains.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds. They also act on the endocannabinoid system in the body in a similar way to cannabinoids. 

The key difference is that the body absorbs and uses these compounds in different ways.

Yes! The reason why we are offering terpene oils is because extra terpenes may enhance the benefits of your CBD products thanks to a process known as the entourage effect.

They may also complement and enhance the effects of the major cannabinoids along with the trace ones.

These oils are classed as a nutritional food supplement. However, using more than 60 drops (3mL) in 24 hours, may cause some temporary indigestion or loose bowel motions. Stop using or reduce intake if you experience undesirable effects.

  • Do not use for children under 12 years old.
  • Do not use if trying to become pregnant, actually pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Do not use if using blood thinning medicines. 
  • Do not use if hypersensitive or allergic to terpenes.
  • Avoid contact with eyes and nose.
  • Using the dropper, place 3 to 5 drops under the tongue every 6 to 8 hours. 
  • Leave under the tongue for 30 seconds, then swallow. 
  • Expect to see wellness benefits in 2 to 4 weeks after regular use. 
  • Do not use more than 3mL in 24 hours.

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this page and throughout our website is not meant to promote medical cannabis as a definite treatment, but rather to inform and educate. CA Connect tries our best to comply with TGA guidelines for the dispensing of content. Also note that medical cannabis effects can vary depending on individual patients according to factors such as size, age and dosage. If patients need information, they are advised to discuss with their registered doctor.