Medical cannabis given the green light in Australia

Accessing medicinal cannabis is about to get a lot easier for patients in Australia.

The Federal Government has approved plans that enable companies to legally sell cannabis oil and medication.

This means Australia is about to get a supply of imported medicinal cannabis products for doctors to prescribe to patients.

Greg Hunt, Australian Health Minister, says they will have the "strictest regime in the world, but as of now, we have put in place a means of guaranteeing supply. 

Australia is currently growing its own cannabis for medical use, but it won't be ready for some time, so approved companies will be allowed to import products from overseas.

Two senior New Zealand doctors have told Newshub they want better access here.

Dr Rick Acland says his patients often use it to good effect and it should be legalised in this country. 

"I think it gives them a sense of relief that they can have a more open conversation with a health professional." 

In New Zealand, just 170 patients have Ministry approval to use medicinal cannabis, but as many as 175,000 are turning to the black market.

Anaesthetist Dr Paul Wieland, says he would like to see cannabis taken out of the black market and put into a properly regulated market in a similar way to alcohol.

Australian patients will have to wait about eight weeks before the supply of medicinal cannabis is available.