Generic image of cannabis.
Generic image of cannabis. Bill North

Patients to get easier access to cannabis

THE process of acquiring medicinal cannabis may soon become a lot easier for patients, with the government making changes to speed up the approval process.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and his NSW counterpart Brad Hazzard have proposed to cut the wait time for doctors wanting to prescribe the drug to 36 hours.

The approval process will also be condensed into a single application to make it easier for patients, including children, to get access to treatment.

The decision is expected to result in a rise in applications from people suffering from epilepsy, cancer and chronic pain.

"It's taking a machete to the red tape - not just cutting it," Mr Hazzard said.

"I have been as frustrated as many of those who would like to use it and many of those who think it should be available."