How Much Does Medical Cannabis Cost in Australia?

Updated: May 11

One of the most common questions we get at alternaleaf is the question of cost. How much does medical cannabis cost in Australia?

In order to get an accurate idea of what you might be expected to pay for medical cannabis and plant based alternatives, you'll need to consider several factors. Think about the initial consultation, daily prescribed dose, and product type.

If you are just getting started on your medical cannabis journey, the following information will help you better understand the associated costs.

Medical Cannabis Costs, Trending Downward

The good news, according to FreshLeaf Analytics, is with 100,000 medical cannabis patients in Australia and counting, the “Average monthly spend continues its slow downward trend,” even while the “average daily dose increases.”

What does this mean for new patients? It means costs are slowly coming down thanks in part to more locally produced cannabis right here in Australia, and more prescriptions all around.

Another factor making cannabis more affordable for patients is access to online consultations and patient care, like we offer at alternaleaf. Telehealth provides Australia-wide services, without compromising on care, by offering online consults and follow ups with a team of experienced cannabis practitioners.

With telehealth consultations and lower monthly prescription costs, medical cannabis becomes a more accessible and more affordable alternative.

How Much Will I Pay for Medical Cannabis?

Several factors go into the expected monthly costs for a medical cannabis prescription. What consultation do you need? What products are suitable for your condition? Which options have been prescribed by your doctor?

Ultimately, your own unique needs will determine the exact amount of your monthly medical cannabis cost, but here is a run down of what to expect

Consultation Costs

Initial pre-screening tends to be free of charge. This is when you will answer introductory questions, which will in part determine your initial eligibility as a good candidate for medical cannabis. The alternaleaf pre-screening takes only a few moments, and is available to anyone in Australia, as it’s an online telehealth service.

The next phase is a consultation with a medical professional – such as a nurse. alternaleaf’s Patient Care team works with you to establish your medical history, discuss whether cannabis may be suitable, and other related queries.

Then you will meet with the prescribing doctor, who will review your personal history and develop your personalised treatment plan. The cost for this process with alternaleaf is $149.

Importantly, we also ensure you have ongoing access to our Patient Care team. Follow up appointments, $59 per session, are designed to answer your questions regarding your personalised treatment plan or to adjust dose or your prescription.

Medical Cannabis Costs

Another consideration is the cost of purchasing your prescription products. These prices can vary for a variety of reasons.

The amount of medical cannabis you are prescribed on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis will determine how much you pay. This is dependent on your diagnosis and unique physiology.

The average patient pays about $5 to $15 per day, or $250 to $300 per month. FreshLeaf Analytics reports that the average monthly spend in 2021 was $278.

Of course, not everyone is on the same dose. Just like within conventional medicine, medical cannabis prescriptions should be highly personalised to your condition, experience, and therapeutic goal.

Cost Differences Between Brand and Product Type

There are over 200 different medical cannabis products available in to Australian patients.

Prices vary between brands and product types. Optional product types include oils, flower for vaporising, creams, and sprays. Oils tend to be the most cost effective for patients.

Medical cannabis consults are generally not covered by Medicare, and prescriptions are not covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. It’s worth speaking with your private healthcare insurer as they may offer coverage.

But, Isn’t the Black Market a Cheaper Option?

Despite growing legal access, many Australians still assume that sourcing cannabis on the black market is their best bet. After all, it's cheaper, right?

In 2020, a survey published in the Harm Reduction Journal reported that 46 percent of respondents bought medical cannabis from black market dealers and another 7.2 percent from illicit medical suppliers.

When they asked why 21 percent reported it was too expensive. But is this always true?

As High on Hemp discovered in an analysis of 62 black market CBD products, the price per milligram was cheaper through legal prescriptions than via illicit sources. According to their research, black market CBD was 13.5 cents per millilitre while legal CBD was 11 cents per millilitre.

They also determined that more than one-quarter of all black market CBD tested didn't contain the cannabinoid content listed and often didn't come with a lab report.

So, it may be time to shift the old assumptions we've held about the costs of legal cannabis.

Is Medical Cannabis an Affordable and Accessible Option?

Yes. Times are changing in Australia and prices for legal cannabis are trending downward. Furthermore, with many private health funds offering rebates to patients, the cost of medical cannabis decreases again.

Telehealth consultation services, like alternaleaf, are leading the way when it comes to accessible healthcare. We connect patients all across Australia with doctors experienced with cannabis — mainly Authorised Prescribers — without leaving the house.

With options like home delivery and ongoing Patient Care, alternaleaf are streamlining the way patients can access medical cannabis treatments.