Medicinal cannabis being used by tens of thousands of Australians as access becomes easier

Data from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) shows prescriptions for medicinal cannabis doubled from 2020 to 2021, with more than 122,000 prescriptions written last year alone.

It's a significant jump from just a few years ago. In 2018, roughly 2,500 prescriptions were written for the entire year.

Melbourne GP Vicki Kotsirilos — the first authorized GP prescriber of medicinal cannabis in Australia — said prescriptions had likely increased because the TGA application process had been "streamlined" and patient demand had grown.

"It was exceptionally hard in the beginning. I was not able to get very many permits," said Dr Kotsirilos, an associate professor at Western Sydney University. "Since the end of 2018, the TGA introduced an online permit system, and extended the duration of permits from three to six months to one year, and now even up to two years.

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