How cannabis use is changing among Australian patients


The latest data from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) reveals some interesting trends in the use of medicinal cannabis among Australian patients. The data, which covers the Special Access Scheme (SAS) approvals for 2023, shows that more women are opting for flower products, while anxiety is becoming a more common indication for cannabis treatment. The data also shows that THC-only products are gaining popularity, while the average age of patients is decreasing.

More women choose flower over oil

According to the TGA data, the proportion of women who received SAS approvals for medicinal cannabis increased from 41% in 2022 to 44% in 2023. This is consistent with the global trend of more women using cannabis for various health conditions, such as chronic pain, endometriosis, and menopause.

Interestingly, the data also shows that more women are choosing flower products over oil products. In 2023, flower products accounted for 42% of the approvals for women, compared to 36% in 2022. On the other hand, oil products accounted for 51% of the approvals for women in 2023, compared to 57% in 2022.

This suggests that women are becoming more comfortable with inhaling cannabis, which is often considered a more effective and faster way of delivering cannabinoids to the body. It also indicates that women are seeking more control over their dosage and consumption methods, as flower products allow for more flexibility and personalisation.

Anxiety on the rise as a reason for cannabis treatment

Another notable trend in the TGA data is the increase in the number of approvals for anxiety as an indication for medicinal cannabis. In 2023, anxiety accounted for 35% of the total approvals, up from 32% in 2022. This makes anxiety the second most common indication for cannabis treatment, after chronic pain, which accounted for 45% of the approvals in 2023.


The rise in anxiety as a reason for cannabis treatment reflects the growing awareness and acceptance of mental health issues in Australia, as well as the increasing evidence of the potential benefits of cannabis for anxiety disorders. Cannabis has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance relaxation, which can help people cope with anxiety symptoms.

However, cannabis use for anxiety is not without risks, as some people may experience adverse effects, such as paranoia, panic, and increased anxiety. Therefore, it is important for patients to consult with their doctors and follow their prescriptions carefully, as well as monitor their responses and adjust their dosage accordingly.

THC-only products dominate the market

The TGA data also reveals that THC-only products accounted for nearly half of the SAS approvals in 2023, with 49% of the total. This is a significant increase from 2022, when THC-only products accounted for 39% of the approvals. In contrast, CBD-only products accounted for only 9% of the approvals in 2023, down from 11% in 2022. The remaining 42% of the approvals in 2023 were for products that contained both THC and CBD.

The dominance of THC-only products in the market can be attributed to several factors, such as the higher demand for THC products for chronic pain and anxiety, the lower cost and easier access to THC products compared to CBD products, and the preference for THC products among recreational users who seek the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

However, THC-only products are not suitable for everyone, as they may cause unwanted side effects, such as impairment, dependence, and tolerance. Moreover, some studies suggest that CBD may have a synergistic effect with THC, enhancing its therapeutic benefits and reducing its negative effects. Therefore, patients should consider the pros and cons of different types of products and consult with their doctors to find the best option for their needs.

Younger patients access cannabis more easily

The TGA data also shows that the average age of patients who received SAS approvals for medicinal cannabis decreased from 52 years in 2022 to 50 years in 2023. This means that younger patients are accessing cannabis more easily and more frequently than before.

This can be explained by several factors, such as the increased awareness and education about medicinal cannabis among younger generations, the greater availability and affordability of cannabis products, and the more relaxed attitudes and stigma towards cannabis use among younger people.

However, younger patients should also be aware of the potential risks and challenges of using cannabis, especially for long-term and frequent use. Cannabis use may have negative impacts on brain development, cognitive function, mental health, and academic performance, especially for adolescents and young adults. Therefore, younger patients should use cannabis responsibly and under medical supervision, and follow the guidelines and regulations of the TGA and their state or territory.

The TGA data provides a valuable insight into the changing patterns and preferences of medicinal cannabis use among Australian patients. The data shows that more women are turning to flower products, anxiety is becoming a more common indication for cannabis treatment, THC-only products are dominating the market, and younger patients are accessing cannabis more easily. These trends reflect the evolving needs and expectations of patients, as well as the dynamic and diverse nature of the cannabis industry. However, these trends also pose some challenges and risks for patients, doctors, and regulators, who need to ensure the safety, quality, and efficacy of cannabis products and services.

By Ethan Mitchell

Ethan Mitchell is the visionary founder of CBD Strains Only, a leading online platform dedicated to providing premium CBD products and information. With a passion for holistic wellness and a deep understanding of the benefits of CBD, Ethan's mission is to empower individuals to enhance their well-being through high-quality CBD strains.

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