The cost is dependent on the active components (CBD or THC), the dose you are prescribed, the dose form and the volume dispensed. Medicinal cannabis is not approved by the TGA and is not on the PBS.
Patient Journey #1
Joan is 67 years old and had a back injury several years ago. In 2006, she had a L4-L5 discectomy and fusion. She rates her daily pain at 8-10, feels a bit depressed and has difficulty sleeping, waking several times during the night.
She commenced medicinal cannabis treatment 6 months ago, and her symptoms stabilised at a dose of 100mg/day of full spectrum CBD.
Her first prescription was for CBD full spectrum (35ml bottle, 5%, 50mg/ml), at a starting dose of 0.15mls twice daily, increasing the titration every 3 days as directed, up to 1.0ml twice a day.
Joan’s first bottle cost $8.83/day.
Joan found the medicine helpful but wanted to reduce costs as much as possible. The pharmacist suggested the next bottle be dispensed as 100 ml 100mg/ml.
The bottle cost $595 and lasted 100 days, equal to $5.95/day.
Patient Journey #2
Barry is a 78-year-old man, with an extensive medical history following a car accident in 2009, and bowel cancer in 2012 treated with surgery and chemotherapy. He also has hypertension and feels a bit down due to difficulty sleeping. He has chronic pain in his neck and back, and his right foot has secondary pain due to fractures sustained in the car accident. He also suffers from peripheral neuropathy after his chemotherapy treatment.
Barry started his treatment 4 months ago on a balanced CBD:THC lozenge twice a day starting with 1/8 lozenge at night for the first week, and slowly increasing the dose weekly as directed.
Barry’s first prescription was for CBD:THC 1:1 12.5mg lozenge (30) costing $325 and lasting 28 days,
averaging to $11.60/day.
On Barry’s second prescription his dose was increased to a 25 mg lozenge, costing $495 for 60 lozenges lasting 60 days,
working out at $8.25/day.