The medicinal cannabis industry has seen a significant rise since it was first allowed in Australia in 2016. Over 150 branded medicinal cannabis products prescribed via the Special Access Scheme (SAS) or Authorised prescriber (AP) cannabis access pathways exists today. The majority is held by oral preparations (oils) or capsules that contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD). Read more below on finished goods vs compounding medicinal cannabis.
What is branded medical cannabis?
Products supplied by a licensed medical cannabis company become branded medical cannabis. The chemical components, quality, and consistency will remain the same all the time.
Upon receiving approval from TGA, products supplied by a medicinal cannabis company should possess a license to supply. So, branded goods and finished goods become equitable to one another.
What is compounded medical cannabis?
A doctor prescribes the compounded medical cannabis product as a bespoke formulation depending on the individual needs of the patient. Doctors can tailor medication according to factors such as height, weight, age, usage frequency, and clinical need. One of the benefits of compounded medical cannabis is that doctors do not need to go through one of the TGA access pathways, including the Special Access Scheme or Authorised Prescriber Scheme.
Branded Vs Compounded cannabis
The TGA regulates branded medical cannabis – the regulatory body managing the guidelines for products and compliance. Part of this compliance is an inbuilt 10% allowance for variance in cannabinoids content for oil and tincture products and 20% allowance for raw flower.
A prescription is first required from a general practitioner or a specialist who will submit an application with the TGA for approval. So, the prescription is sent back to the GP once approved or directly to the pharmacy for collection.
Conversely, compounded medical cannabis does not need approval from the TGA. A doctor can prescribe or alter it. Separately to the TGA, compounding pharmacists must also meet the high standards set out by the Pharmacy Board of Australia. In practical terms, this ensures the quality of compounded products is relatively similar to the quality of the branded products.
In addition, compounding prices differ depending on the pharmacy, as different chemists procure pharmaceutical ingredients from different sources. Once a GP has prescribed compounded medicinal cannabis, the patient can only have this script fulfilled by a compounding pharmacy, who will discuss the medicine with the patient.
Branded Medical Cannabis
Compounded Medical Cannabis
Is compounded medical cannabis safe?
Compounded medical cannabis is very safe. This is because pharmacists must verify the individual compounds used in the production. Therefore, compounding pharmacies will usually have their ingredients verified by a certificate of analysis which will verify the authenticity and compliance of their ingredients. As a result, testing the final product does not become a requirement. Further, stability and consistency become less of a concern.
Once the script is received, the compounded medical cannabis is created. And not in batches, as the Pharmacy Board actively prohibits this practice.
Access to compounded cannabis products
Accessing compounding medicine is very convenient in Australia, whether you live in a big city or in rural areas.
CBD oil is a schedule 4 drug, and one does not need to perform any additional steps after receiving a prescription from the doctor. As a result, patients can directly contact a compounding pharmacy with their prescription.
THC is a schedule 8 drug which means patients may require one further state approval depending on their location. Therefore, once approved, simply contact the compounding pharmacy along with the prescription.
In conclusion, for patients wanting natural and personalised medicinal cannabis products, compounding functions as a beneficial choice. Medical conditions such as Migraines, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, Depression, etc. dosage will differ from person to person. Branded medical cannabis is made in batches, whilst compounded medical cannabis is made from scratch for every patient. In addition, those who suffer from allergies and cannot consume branded products, compounded products may be more suitable. Moreover, being tailored for clinical needs.
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