Find out how you can get legal marijuana next year

HUNDREDS of patients will soon be able to access medicinal marijuana products.

The passing of the Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Bill 2016 last week means health patients across the Fraser Coast could be reaping the benefits of marijuana legally from March 2017.

But getting hands on the drug won't be so simple.

Patients will need to apply through their general practitioner or specialist in order to access the treatment options.

The legislation itself has not specified the particular conditions that marijuana could be prescribed for, leaving the field open.

Health Minister Cameron Dick said certain specialist doctors would be able to prescribe medical marijuana products for patients without needing approval.

Specialists practising in medical oncology, neurology and palliative care medicine are expected to be the first to be approved of this ability.

There are oncology and palliative care specialists on the Fraser Coast who could fall under that category.

A total of 789 oncology patients were treated across the Fraser Coast by the Wide Bay Health and Hospital Service during the 2015/16 calendar.

Another 192 Fraser Coast patients have got treatment from WBHHS since July.

In terms of palliative care, WBHHS average 217 palliative care patients per month across the Fraser Coast.

This includes home and in hospital care.

Fraser Coast neurology specialists go to Brisbane hospitals for treatment.

Marijuana is linked to helping a range of illnesses, such as diabetes, depression and arthritis.

It can also help relieve general body pain.

With news of medical marijuana's legalisation, before you picture hospital patients in white gowns smoking joints - it won't be quite like that

Instead, it will be used through external methods such as oil.

Unless you are a patient in genuine need of marijuana's powers, using it will remain illegal.

Mr Dick said most of the medical cannabis would be imported from overseas, as it was illegal to cultivate commercial medical cannabis in Australia.

Topics:  fraser coast general-seniors-news marijuana medical wide bay hospital and health service

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