The journey of medical marijuanas in Australia is not without its ups and downs. After all, only 20 years ago it would have been comical to imagine that legislation would be as progressive as it has in the realm of pharmaceutical treatment options for a variety of ailments. Medical marijuanas in Australia, while still coated in a twinge of controversy and old modes of thought, have been progressively becoming more popular as a treatment option for a larger number of Aussies.
While legalised for medicinal use in 2016, actual prescriptions of the substance have increased substantially in the community since the early days of 2020. This could be linked to the expansion of relevant conditions that can be prescribed, a relaxing of public opinion of medical marijuanas in Australia, or a combination of both and more.
While it is quite uplifting to see perceptions begin to change as well as more research be conducted into the minutiae and true efficacy of medical marijuanas in Australia, it took a lot of battling to get to this point.
This article will cover some of the steps in the journey toward legislation as well as explore what could lay around the corner for the industry.
Early Days Of Demonisation
The use of cannabis as a medicinal alleviator is not a brand-new concept. There are a number of reports that state the workers of Queen Elizabeth I imported the plant from India to assist her with migraines and menstrual cramp pain. It was deemed to be so effective that she ordered her own people to begin growing the plant or face a fine.
It is hard to pinpoint the second where the scare campaign began, the early 20th century saw a number of countries banning the plant for use in any capacity with fears it was no different to opium. Petrochemical industries in the USA were also coming of age in the 1930s, which is also when cannabis began becoming associated with debauchery and loose morals.
There was an uphill battle for the backers of medical marijuanas in Australia, and after rigorous campaigning and supreme dedication, 2016 came around.
2016: Medical Marijuanas In Australia Become Federally Legal
In 2016, the federal government voted to finally legalise medical marijuanas in Australia – there were strict regulations and requirements of course, but the headway was finally apparent. It could only be prescribed against a very specified criteria, and further approvals were often needed (depending on the state).
2016-2022: Eligibility Expansion
Over the course of 6 years, the once minimalist list of approved conditions that medical marijuanas in Australia can be used for are growing slowly but surely. It is difficult to add a particular date as to when the list expanded as each ailment has progressively gone through the motions in this time.
In fact, according to ongoing reportage from the Therapeutic Goods Administration, a large majority of new prescriptions are done so for chronic pain, and mental health-related ailments. Research is also consistently being conducted with long-term and short-term studies to indicate where medical marijuanas in Australia could have the most benefit.
Future Growing Pains
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for medical marijuanas in Australia. There are still remnants of older legislation that contradict with the prevailing use of medical marijuanas in Australia that still need attention. Not the least of which being related to traffic and driving laws which are in dire need of updating in the wake of various studies that outline the presence of cannabis in the system and its relation to impairment.
But that’s another story.