How do I legally obtain drugs for medical purposes? 


The decriminalisation of certain drugs and other drug policy changes in Australia have made headlines recently.  

In June 2023, Legalise Cannabis party introduced their drug reform bill to the New South Wales, Victorian, and Western Australian state parliaments in a bid to legalise the personal use of marijuana.  

Since 1 July 2023, authorised psychiatrists can prescribe psychedelics such as MDMA or Psilocybin to certain patients for specific mental health conditions.  

But what are the laws around medicinal cannabis and MDMA currently, and how can you obtain them legally? 

In this article, we will explore the uses for medicinal cannabis and MDMA, the laws, where and how you can access these drugs.  

What is medicinal cannabis? 

Medicinal cannabis, also known as marijuana, comes from the cannabis sativa plant and can potentially treat debilitating or terminal illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, ovarian cancer, epilepsy, cancer, chronic pain, metabolic disorders, and mental health conditions. 

However, there are tight controls around prescribing this medication as most cannabis medicines are not registered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), meaning they have not been evaluated to meet Australia’s strict safety, quality, and effectiveness standards. 

What is the current law around medicinal cannabis? 

The use, possession and supply of cannabis remains illegal in most states and territories in Australia. However, certain practitioners are permitted to prescribe it as a last resort and in the ACT, the laws governing cannabis possession, cultivation and use have recently changed.  

For specific laws in your state, visit the following websites: 

How can you obtain it? 

If you have a chronic condition, i.e., lasting longer than three months, speak to your doctor about obtaining a prescription. They will assess your medical history, current symptoms, and any other treatments you have tried to decide whether it is a suitable treatment option.  

What is MDMA and Psilocybin? 

MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, is a synthetic substance that can increase feelings of empathy and kindness, social acceptance, and connection to others. 

While used as a recreational drug, it was commonly prescribed by psychiatrists in the 1970s and early 1980s to treat patients with PTSD.  

Psilocybin, commonly known as Magic Mushrooms, is a natural psychedelic produced by more than 200 species of fungi. It can create a sense of euphoria and wellbeing, and in controlled doses, can be used to treat treatment resistance depression (TRD).  

What is the law currently around MDMA and Psilocybin? 

Certain psychiatrists can access MDMA or Psilocybin to treat specific mental health conditions that other medicines or therapies have been unable to treat. 

MDMA can only be prescribed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Psilocybin can only be prescribed to treat depression that is resistant to other treatments. There are no other approved uses for these two medicines. 

Visit the Australian Government website for more information. 

How can you obtain it? 

If your doctor thinks that MDMA or Psilocybin-assisted therapy may be an appropriate treatment option, they can refer you to a psychiatrist who is an authorised prescriber.