Medicinal cannabis and cancer symptom management

Thursday 1 September, 2016

Recent changes in Commonwealth and state laws mean that medicinal cannabis products can now be used in Australia to assist in the treatment and management of cancer related symptoms and side effects.

Medicinal cannabis may be prescribed to people with cancer to stimulate appetite or weight gain, or to manage nausea, vomiting or pain. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that medicinal cannabis is effective in the treatment or management of cancer itself. It is therefore used in symptom management only.

Cancer Council supports ongoing high-quality research and clinical trials that examine the use of medicinal cannabis products to build evidence about its effectiveness in the management of cancer symptoms and treatment related side effects.

If you are interested in using medicinal cannabis to assist in relieving some of your cancer symptoms or cancer related side effects, the first step is to talk to your doctor. Medicinal cannabis can only be accessed legally through your treating doctor and specialists. Your doctor can only prescribe medicinal cannabis if they believe it will be beneficial in the relief of your symptoms.

Your doctor will discuss with you which form of medicinal cannabis product might be right for you. Cancer Council does not support smoking of medicinal cannabis products as all forms of smoking are known to increase cancer risk.

For more information:


Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria

Therapeutic Goods Administration – Medicinal cannabis

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