Your consultation with the doctor will generally last between 15-30 minutes and will consist of the following:

1. Medical History Review

The consultation begins with the doctor taking a thorough medical history of your condition.

Here you will discuss past treatments and how they have failed to fully relieve your symptoms.

It’s good to write a list of your past medications trialed so that you have this info available for the doctor. If the medications trialed have caused any side effects, it’s good to note these down as well to discuss with the doctor.

2. Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for medical cannabis, you have to have tried at least one prescription medication which has either failed to fully control your symptoms or has intolerable side effects.

Medical cannabis can not be a first line treatment. It also doesn’t need to be a last line treatment – the requirement is that you must have tried at least one conventional medication.  The doctor will confirm your eligibility based on your history.

3. Contraindications & Drug Interactions

Its important to discuss your medical history before starting medical cannabis treatment as there are a few cases where medical cannabis may not be appropriate.

For example, cannabis use is not recommended if a person has a history of hypersensitivity to cannabinoids, psychosis, schizophrenia, substance abuse, severe cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, renal or liver disease1. Cannabis should be used with caution in patients receiving concomitant therapy with sedative-hypnotics or other psychoactive drugs1.

Furthermore, it’s not recommend for cannabis to be used by women of childbearing age without reliable contraception, who are breastfeeding, pregnant and/or planning to become pregnant1.

Medical cannabis can potentially interact with other medications you might be taking. CBD has been shown to inhibit liver metabolic
enzymes, such as CYP450 and carboxylesterase 1 (CES 1)2. Thus, CBD may alter the pharmacology of other pharmaceuticals, alcohol and other nonpharmaceutical drugs.

*Please note this article is not medical advice and is general in nature – you will need to speak with the doctor directly to determine if medical cannabis is appropriate and safe for your particular condition.

4. Product Selection

There are now over 200 medical cannabis products available to prescribe legally in Australia. The doctor will recommend a product based on your condition and other influencing factors.

Products generally fall into 3 categories: CBD only, Balanced (CBD + THC) and THC only.

Flower products (for vaporization) have much faster onset than oils but don’t last as long. The effects of oil or capsules will last much longer than flower but onset is 1-2 hours sometimes.

The doctor will discuss the practicalities of different products and find one most suited for your particular situation. For example for neuropathic pain the doctor might prescribe a balanced oil to start.

Some patients may find they need to trial more than one product to find the optimum formulation and dosing to help their symptoms. The doctor will discuss the different product options with you and decide on a plan moving forward.

Oils generally start at $100-150 per bottle while flower (for vaporization) usually costs around $150 for a 10 gram container.

5. Treatment Plan

Once you and the doctor decide on a product (or products) the doctor will explain the titration process and next steps.

There is no set dosing as cannabis affects everyone differently. Titration is the process of starting with a very low dose and slowly working your way up to the minimum effective dose. This is the optimal dose where symptoms are managed with little to no side effects.

The doctor will provide the pharmacy with a titration guide which the pharmacy will provide to you along with the medication. The doctor will generally advise to book in a follow up appointment in 4 weeks time to assess progress, discuss any side effects and change medication and dosage if required.

6. TGA Approval

After your appointment the doctor will put together an application for a medical cannabis permit and submit to the TGA. The process for obtaining approval takes a few days.

Once we receive TGA approval, the doctor will then write the script and send both the script and approval to our preferred pharmacy.

We will send you a text when this is done and the pharmacy will give you a call to arrange payment and delivery of the medication.

Next Steps

If you’re ready to book in with one of our doctors please click here to select a date and time. Due to high demand and limited spots we require a $50 deposit to book the appointment.

 

 

Sources:

  1. Canada H. Information for Health Care Practitioner: Cannabis (Marihuana, Marijuana) and the Cannabinoids.; 2018
  2. Roth MD, Marques-Magallanes JA, Yuan M, et al. Induction and Regulation of the Carcinogen-Metabolizing Enzyme CYP1A1 by Marijuana Smoke and ∆ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2001;24(3):339-344