Sydney is one of the most recognisable cities in Australia. But did you know Sydney (and New South Wales more broadly) has a growing number of patients who use medical cannabis to treat a variety of conditions?
After legalisation, NSW became one of the only states to launch into cannabis research head first, with the creation of the government-funded Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation.
If you are a resident in Sydney, or anywhere in NSW, and curious about what rules apply for access to medical cannabis, you’ll find everything you need to know here.
Medical Cannabis Patients in NSW
From 2020 to 2021, the number of applicants for medical marijuana in Sydney doubled to almost 50,000. Applications were approved via Special Access Category B (SAS-B). These patients, and many more since then, have been using medical cannabis to treat several conditions.
At alternaleaf, we’re proud to serve many patients in NSW. In fact, close to 40 percent of the patients we work with live here. Many live in the suburbs of Sydney, including Southwest Sydney, the Central Coast, and iconic Bondi. Most of our patients treat conditions like chronic pain and anxiety, though many other ailments may receive approval for treatment with medical cannabis.
Thanks to online telehealth services like ours, people from all over Australia are becoming medical cannabis patients from the comfort of their couch.
How To Access Medical Cannabis in Sydney
Speaking with an experienced cannabis doctor is the first step in determining if medical cannabis could benefit you. You can start today by booking an online consultation with alternaleaf.
First, you’ll answer a few yes-or-no questions during an initial screening. You will then proceed to a pre-assessment consultation with one of our nurses, which takes about 20 minutes. Before meeting with one of our prescribing doctors, expect to discuss your condition and medical history in more detail.
Since you will then have provided us with much-needed information, the final consultation with the doctor will be straightforward. This would be a great time to ask any questions or concerns you may have about medical cannabis.
Our doctors will submit your medical marijuana application for approval to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Once approved, your medical cannabis prescription will be sent to one of our partnered pharmacies for dispensing. Your prescription is shipped directly to your door.
How much does medical marijuanas in Sydney and the rest of NSW cost? The total cost will depend on the treatment plan prescribed to you, and can vary from patient to patient.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) currently only covers one prescription for medical cannabis for Dravet syndrome. However, we encourage our patients to check with their health insurance provider to see what they will cover since many have started reimbursing for medical marijuana in Australia.
Eligibility for Medical Cannabis in NSW
The TGA is ultimately responsible for determining whether or not a person qualifies to become a medical cannabis patient in Australia. Patients must meet specific criteria to be approved.
All of our doctors at alternaleaf have extensive experience working with medical cannabis. During your consultation with us, we’ll help determine your eligibility and assist in the rest of the application process. We follow the guidelines set in place by the TGA.
Though you don’t have to exhaust all other treatment options, the TGA does require that you have tried some other options before you apply for medical cannabis. Our doctors will discuss different treatments you’ve tried and what alternatives could be available to you moving forward.
Is Cannabis Legal for Recreational Use in NSW?
The answer is no. Cannabis is not legal in NSW for any purposes outside of medical ones. While there is some leniency for first-time offenders in the state — the sale, possession, and use of black market cannabis remains illegal and could lead to criminal charges.
If you have questions about accessing cannabis in NSW as an alternative therapy, the best route is to speak with a doctor who is well versed in cannabis as medicine.
Travelling with Medical Cannabis in NSW
Although many places in Australia make allowances for travelling patients and their out-of-state medical cannabis prescription — NSW may be the exception.
Health NSW advises patients to be careful if they are travelling to NSW with prescription cannabis. This is because even though it’s legal across the country, out-of-state medicines may not be. Be sure to carry your alternaleaf patient card with you when travelling, noting any decision around possession is at the discretion of authorities.
Medical Cannabis as an Alternative
Accessing medical marijuana in Sydney has never been easier. At alternaleaf, we’ll walk you through the process from start to finish while answering any questions you have. The first step to relief is just one click away.