Cannadoc, Author at Cannadoc

Article by Cannadoc

The Cannadoc Patient Journey – Medical Cannabis

Are you considering commencing your treatment journey with Cannadoc? The idea of booking a medical cannabis consultation can be daunting if you’re unsure where to begin and what to expect.

Each medical cannabis clinic operates differently with its own unique processes. At Cannadoc, our team is committed to ensuring our patients receive the highest standards of care right from the beginning. This includes making sure all prospective and current patients are clearly informed, supported and guided every step of the way.

Keep reading to learn what’s involved in the Cannadoc medical cannabis patient journey.

Medical Cannabis Eligibility check

Before you can book an appointment with our clinic, you must determine if you’re eligible. A simple and free process, you can check your eligibility online here or via phone screen with one of our friendly nurses.

If both of the following statements apply to you, you’re likely eligible for an appointment with Cannadoc:

  • You have chronic medical condition diagnosed by a registered medical practitioner or GP
  • Standard medications and treatments have been unsuccessful in treating symptoms appropriately, or you experience adverse side effects

Book an appointment – Medical Cannabis Doctors

Once you’ve determined that you’re eligible for an appointment with Cannadoc, the next step is booking your initial consultation. All Cannadoc consultations are conducted via Telehealth, enabling you to conveniently connect with our medical cannabis doctors from the comfort of your own home (or wherever else in Australia you may be!).

Understanding that not everyone’s situation is the same, our team is more than happy to facilitate three-way phone consultations between family members and carers. In extenuating circumstances, we can arrange video consultations for our patients.

Initial consult

We pride ourselves on being thorough and getting to know each patient in detail – we believe in quality, not quantity and – as a result – don’t rush our appointments. Your initial consultation will take roughly 30 minutes; during this time, your doctor will have a comprehensive discussion with you about your medical condition and symptoms. Your doctor will also explore your medical history and conditions to understand any previous difficulties, for example, previous medications that had intolerable side effects or were ineffective in treating your condition. All consultations with our patients are free of judgement – there are no right or wrong answers. We want you to be as honest as possible so that we can work together to produce the best outcome for you. At conclusion of your initial consultation, you will receive a comprehensive, tailored treatment plan. This will also include information on dosing and guidance on how to reach your therapeutic dose.

At the time of scheduling your initial consultation, we’ll take your payment details for booking purposes. Payment, however, will not be processed until after your appointment has taken place. Please note, no-shows may incur a $50 fee.

Leading up to your initial appointment, there are three documents you need to obtain and complete in advance:

Health summary

A vital document that will help guide your discussion with your medical cannabis doctor, your health summary provides an overview of your medical record, including any medical conditions, medications (past and present), allergies / adverse reactions and immunisations. Your health summary will enable your Cannadoc doctor to fully comprehend your medical history to best tailor a treatment suited to your requirements for the most optimal outcome.
Obtaining your health summary is easy – simply speak to reception at your regular GP clinic and ask them to send a copy directly to you or to our team here at Cannadoc. We recommend acquiring your health summary before booking your initial appointment to avoid any delays.

Registration & consent form

All new patients will need to fill out a registration and consent form. If you’re booking your initial consult online, you will be prompted to fill out the registration and consent form as part of the booking process, which can be done here . If you wish to book your initial consult via phone, our team will email you each form for you to complete.

By filling out our consent form, you can make an informed decision about proceeding with your medical cannabis treatment.

Referral

A referral from your regular GP helps us to better understand your needs. While this is the preferred process, we appreciate that sometimes obtaining a referral can be a barrier to access for many patients. If you’re having difficulty obtaining a referral, please reach out to our team for support.

Medical cannabis collection

If clinically appropriate, a script will be written for the prescribed medication, which can be emailed directly to yourself and a preferred pharmacy for convenience. While you can have your script sent to your pharmacy of choice, we work closely with select pharmacies and dispensaries that are familiar with our products and carry stock on hand – this ensures minimal wait times and an efficient, seamless experience for our patients.

Upon receiving your script, a representative from the chosen pharmacy / dispensary will be in contact with you to arrange collection. The expected timeframe for collection is up to five business days from the date of your initial consult. It’s important to note that if more than five business days have passed and you still have not heard from your pharmacy, you should contact them as the first port of call, as it’s likely they’ve been unable to reach you. All repeat scripts will be kept at your pharmacy for your convenience.

Follow up appointments

All patients are encouraged to book a follow up appointment four to six weeks from their initial appointment. To ensure you are seen within an adequate timeframe and to avoid of running out of medication, we recommend booking your follow-up appointment at the time of your consultation. Alternatively, you can book your next appointment when you reach your last medication bottle. After your four-to-six week follow-up appointment, patients should schedule check-up appointments every three months to discuss and adjust treatment plans (if needed) and obtain repeat scripts. It is worth noting that it is the responsibility of our patients to book and stay up to date with their appointments.

Free access to medical cannabis support

We understand medical cannabis treatment can take some time to grasp, and you may have questions about your treatment and medication outside of your consults. Committed to ensuring all Cannadoc patients receive high-quality, personalised care, our knowledgeable nurses provide free phone support to you during operating hours. For example, you might have a question about side effects or want to gain clarity on whether you should book an appointment to discuss any other matters. Regardless of your query, our team is always happy to provide guidance to you at any stage throughout your medical cannabis journey. Book an appointment today!

 

 

Disclaimer: This information is not aimed at promoting use of medicinal cannabis. This is not intended to be used as medical advice or a substitute for your own practitioner’s advice, nor is it intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment for any illness/disease. Cannadoc & associated parties are not liable for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of/reliance on info provided.

 

Can Medical Cannabis Cause Addiction?

As with any other medicinal prescription, patients should always educate themselves and consider what potential side effects may come with their treatment plan. While cannabis has a lower risk profile than commonplace substances like alcohol and even coffee, there are always nuances for particular people that can give some substances more or less potential for addiction. 

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding cannabis. Differentiating between medicinal cannabis and street cannabis can be difficult, and reframing in Australia is still relatively new. Street cannabis is still connected to illicit drugs and has very real and rational concerns surrounding it pertaining to addiction and dangerous use. Medicinal cannabis, however, is now in a regulated realm of its own. 

Helping you to understand the risks and realities of medicinal cannabis use, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding addiction. With this, we also hope to clarify the differences between street and medical cannabis so that all of your personal research can consider whether studies and thought pieces relate to the regulated goods you’re being prescribed by a doctor or studies done on unregulated cannabis. 

Is medical cannabis addictive?

There is no yes or no answer to this question. Addiction profiles are complex. Some people are more prone to addiction than others, and genetics, mental health and environmental factors can play a role in whether or not someone is at risk of forming an addiction. 

What is clear is that medicinal cannabis has a lower risk profile for addiction than all of the common stimulants and depressants that Australians have legal access to, namely alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. 

Medicinal cannabis does not have physical addictive qualities like caffeine, opioids or tobacco. E.g. you need to keep increasing the dose to get the benefits. However, some patients can form an addiction to the feeling of cannabis. While the risks are low, it’s important to be mindful that this can affect certain people. 

Does medicinal cannabis have a lower addiction profile than regular cannabis?

It’s fair to say that medicinal cannabis has a lower addiction risk than regular cannabis; there are a number of factors that lead to this. 

Firstly, medicinal cannabis is grown in a controlled environment, regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Association in Australia to guarantee its safety and efficacy. Under these guidelines, the process of production is extremely strict. Growers and producers have to uphold high standards of production to ensure the medicinal qualities of the cannabis are nurtured, and there are no additional chemicals that could be harmful to patients’ health. 

Comparatively, regular cannabis, or street cannabis, is grown in a huge range of different ways. Some use sprays and additional chemicals to alter the profile of the plant for a greater high or even specifically to make it addictive, making it potentially dangerous. Due to the unregulated way that street cannabis or marijuana is grown and produced, it comes with greater risks. Studies have found that black market products are not accurately labelled and often inconsistent in their composition thus carry a higher risk of dependence. The uncertain makeup of the final product means the side effects can be unpredictable, and it’s impossible to know whether the cannabis you get is safe or high-risk for addiction and other negative side effects. 

Given the illegal vs legal and regulated nature of the market in Australia, the illegal side will very seldom have a consistent product with which we can compare the qualities. 

Medicinal cannabis is produced for health and safety 100% of the time. 

Another critical consideration is that medicinal cannabis is provided through a medical professional who provides a medical consultation. Illegal cannabis, of course, is not. This matters because addiction profiles can be genetic or psychological. Particular people, depending on their family environment, inherited genetics, lifestyle and mental health factors, can be more or less likely to form addictions. Working with a medical professional to discuss your health prior to trying medicinal cannabis is the most effective way to prevent risks of addiction.

All elements considered, medicinal cannabis is a far more safe and supported avenue to ensure that addiction risks are identified and mitigated before they have any potential to occur. 

Does tolerance cause addiction?

With many substances, like caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and opioids, for those who are prescribed opioids for pain, addiction often occurs when tolerance is built up, and you need to take more to get the effects you have grown to rely on.  

Interestingly, the tolerance journey for medical cannabis is not the same as described above. While users will gradually, often quickly, develop a tolerance to the side effects of medical cannabis (lethargy, dry mouth and other common side effects), the beneficial effects do not reduce as tolerance is built. This means that a patient using medicinal cannabis may reach a point where they don’t feel much of the side effects mentioned above, but they still get the therapeutic effects their treatment was designed to offer, such as reducing anxiety, reducing the frequency of epileptic fits, limiting headaches, and reducing chronic pain. 

Are there different addiction risks for CBD vs THC?

In 2017, the World Health Organisation released a report, in which they state:

“Current evidence shows that cannabidiol is not likely to be abused or create dependence as for other cannabinoids (such as Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC), for instance).”

“In general, clinical studies have reported that even high doses of oral CBD do not cause those effects [addiction or potential for abuse] that are characteristic for THC and for cannabis rich in THC.”

These findings indicate that patients using cannabidiol (CBD) are extremely unlikely to form an addiction to this treatment. 

On the other hand, TetraHydroCannabinol (THC) — although still a much lower risk profile than caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine — is the form of medicinal cannabis that medical experts are particularly careful to prescribe for patients who have a high risk of addiction. 

What are the signs of cannabis addiction?

Cannabis addiction manifests through an increase in dependency. Common signs are: 

Craving cannabis 

  • Using it even when you’ve recognised that it’s causing problems in your daily life
  • Increasing use to maintain the feeling it produces
  • Withdrawing from activities you once used to enjoy 
  • Using cannabis in situations where it could be dangerous
  • Thinking excessively about cutting back but struggling to do so.

How to manage a medical cannabis addiction

Whether you are taking prescribed medicinal cannabis or have sourced illegal cannabis for self-treatment, you should contact your doctor at the early signs of addiction. Treating addiction is always best dealt with early.

Early intervention with a medical cannabis expert can help to identify the best way to stop it in its tracks while also ensuring you have support to find alternative avenues that can help you handle your illness or ailment. Feeling as though you have no other means to treat your suffering is dangerous to trap you into situations that are not serving you as they should. Support and guidance to find alternative treatments will help you to feel on top of your situation and maintain confidence that there are other avenues to explore. 

Working with a medical cannabis doctor is the most effective way to ensure that addiction remains an extremely low risk. Any signs even close can be identified, and treatments can be tailored accordingly. 

Take Home Message

Weighing the potential harm against benefits should always be considered with any type of treatment. In examining the risk vs benefit of medicinal cannabis, most patients ultimately conclude that, guided by a health professional, they feel confident in using medicinal cannabis as a therapeutic treatment and find that its benefits far outweigh adverse effects and problems of abuse often experienced from other medications, such as opioids.

How Do Doctors Recommend Taking Medical Cannabis?

Outside of the plant-based medical field, when thinking about cannabis use, most people will get an image inspired by television or movies of a person smoking the plant to get “high”. Naturally, this is a turn-off for many patients because, firstly, these films instil negative associations regarding how these people are seen in society and secondly, smoking is bad for you. 

Thankfully, no doctor specialising in treatment using medicinal cannabis will ever recommend it be smoked. 

We have gathered some of the most frequently asked questions to help break some common myths and bring to light how medicinal cannabis is actually prescribed by doctors and used by patients. Below we endeavour to answer these questions in as much detail as possible so that you can feel comfortable and confident before seeking out this treatment. 

How can you take medical cannabis?

As we touched on above, the smoking of medicinal cannabis is never advised by doctors. In fact, doctors find great pleasure in successfully converting patients from the use of smoking cannabis to vaping; it is referred to as ‘harm minimization’. Smoking, in any form, releases toxic compounds which can damage the lungs and cause uncomfortable side effects such as coughing, sputum and bronchitis.

Instead, there are a variety of alternative ways that medical cannabis can be used. The two primary methods are: 

Oral 

Most often, patients will receive a prescription for medicinal cannabis that can be taken orally. Oral solutions come in the form of capsules, oil drops and sprays. 

Vaporisation 

Using a special device called a vaporiser, patients can inhale the vapour from the cannabis flower to get its effects. Unlike smoking, these devices heat the cannabis flower and release the cannabinoids into a vapour. Patients simply inhale. This vapour “smoke” is not the result of burning the flower. Thus, it does not release toxic compounds as smoking does. 

Topical creams, patches or gels can also be prescribed. These are for direct application and can have some therapeutic benefits, but they are not so commonly used. 

What’s the most common way doctors recommend taking medical cannabis?

Cannabis specialist doctors work closely with patients to understand their illness or ailments, as well as their medical history and current prescriptions. The means by which doctors recommend patients take medicinal cannabis will, depend on the clinical indication, as well as the preference of the patient. 

Where possible, doctors want their patients to feel comfortable, both in the effects of the treatment as well as how it is taken. We mentioned above the two most common ways to use medicinal cannabis. Below we will look at how these two ways of taking medicinal cannabis work on the body to paint a picture of what scenarios may apply to which kind of treatment. 

Oral treatments

Oral treatments, any kind of medicinal cannabis solution which is taken orally and absorbed in the stomach, are slow-releasing treatments. After an oral treatment has been taken, it can take somewhere between 30 and 90 minutes for any effects to be felt and then it has long-lasting therapeutic effects. The peak of the effects can be felt around two to four hours after being taken, and the total length of time where patients can still feel the treatment is up to eight hours. For this reason, many patients commence on a regime of morning and night doses, so as to last throughout the day as well as while they sleep. 

Vaporisation treatments

Vaporised medicinal cannabis is absorbed differently from oral treatments. Inhaling vapour bypasses the digestive process, and instead, it is absorbed in the lungs. Because it is not metabolised in the same way through the stomach, it is absorbed much faster in the body, and the effects are felt very soon after use. The effects of vaporisation will typically be felt within 90 seconds and reach the full peak of the effect in just 15 to 30 minutes. The total time effects are felt from vaporisation is between two to four hours. Just as the effects release quickly, they will also pass quickly – when compared to oral treatments. 

How is medicinal cannabis different from marijuana?

On the surface, medicinal cannabis and marijuana are the same. But that does not mean that recreational (illegal) marijuana is a good alternative to medicinal cannabis. They may come from the same plant, but the means by which they are produced can make them very different by the time they reach the hands of the patient. 

Both feature the same properties: cannabinoids. These naturally occurring chemicals are what have made cannabis/marijuana such an important plant in the sphere of plant-based medicine. The most common of these chemicals are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). 

Where medicinal cannabis and street marijuana begin to really differ is in how they are produced. The Therapeutic Goods Association regulates medicinal cannabis. They are responsible for overseeing strict guidelines that approved medicinal cannabis cultivators have to follow. These cultivators grow medicinal cannabis plants and produce all of the solutions, withdrawing specific compounds — be it THC or CBD — to provide regulation approved capsules, sprays, oils, vaporisable flowers and other solutions and doses. 

Street marijuana, on the other hand, due to its illegal nature, is not grown under any regulations. This means that users rarely know how it is produced. There are many different kinds of plants, all producing different effects, and many growers of illegal cannabis will use certain chemicals or growing methods to increase the high effect from the THC. This is not a positive alteration, and these growers are not skilled to understand how this impacts users. Furthermore, illegal marijuana is most often sold to users in plant form, where it is expected it will be smoked. Which, as mentioned, can produce adverse reactions and side effects in the body.

Why smoking cannabis for medical purposes is not recommended

The harmful effects of cigarette smoking are well known in Australia, and as a result, cigarettes have been heavily taxed and regulated. Smoking, in any form, has these extremely harmful side effects. That too goes for cannabis. 

Because of the many therapeutic benefits of cannabis, there is a tendency to forget that smoke in any form — including burning food in your kitchen — releases toxic compounds, irritants and carcinogens that can damage your lungs or worse. Cannabis has significant benefits, but smoking it remains harmful. Adding to the potential danger of smoking cannabis is how it is inhaled. Unlike when someone smokes a cigarette, cannabis is often inhaled deeper and held for longer. This increases the exposure to tar, toxic compounds, irritants and carcinogens. 

The negative consequences of smoke inhalation mean that no medical doctor specialising in cannabis treatments would recommend it be used in this way. 

How to access medicinal cannabis in Australia

Since 2016, medicinal cannabis has been regulated in Australia, with states all adopting their own controls on how patients can gain access. As of 2021, most states afford access to patients who have not found relief or results through other traditional, conventional lines of treatment. 

Authorised organisations, such as Cannadoc, are then the means through which patients can obtain a legal medicinal cannabis prescription. In some cases, GPs may be able to source legal cannabis. This applies to those that have gone through the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Special Access Scheme. However, most GPs will simply refer patients to medical professionals that specialise in cannabis treatments, such as Cannadoc. 

Patients seeking to explore medicinal cannabis as a treatment option can do so via two potential paths:

  1. GP referral
  2. Self-referral.

Those who have a General Practitioner can simply request a referral to see a cannabis specialist. Patients can even supply our referral form to make the process easy for the GP to submit if they deem the patient to be eligible. 

Those who do not have a regular GP, or do not feel supported by their GP for whatever reason, can complete an eligibility test to check they meet the criteria to be considered as a patient, which will then allow them to self-refer. 

Who is eligible for medicinal cannabis in Australia

There is no black and white answer to this question, unfortunately. Medical cannabis is a treatment option for patients with which conventional medications have proven unsuccessful.  In saying that, there are still criteria that need to be met in order to be deemed eligible. 

Most commonly, medicinal cannabis is prescribed for those with: 

  • Anxiety
  • Epilepsy 
  • Insomnia
  • Neurodevelopmental Conditions – e.g. Autism
  • Spasticity and pain in multiple sclerosis
  • Chronic non-cancer pain:
    • arthritis
    • lower back pain
    • neck pain
    • other neuropathic pains.
  • Cancer related pain 
  • Chemotherapy induced nausea & vomiting 

Every case is carefully assessed, full medical histories are complete, and a comprehensive understanding of all existing treatments — medications, vitamins and everything else — is compiled before any recommendations are made. This level of critical assessment is essential to ensure that any treatments are safe and provide optimal results.  

If you would like to understand more about medical cannabis and whether it could be a treatment option for you, please contact Cannadoc on 1300 944 033 or email us at info@cannadoc.com.au. Our team of medical doctors are here to offer you all the advice and support you need to get the relief you deserve.

What Is Medical Cannabis, and How Does It Work?

Although cannabis has only just begun to receive mainstream recognition for its medicinal applications internationally and in Australia, it’s been around for all of recorded history. There are mentions of its therapeutic use in many corners of the world from as early as 2900 BC, and it’s been studied and recommended by modern science since the 1840s. 

While there were many years where government regulation had to catch up to scientific research, we are now in an age where those who can benefit from medicinal cannabis can access it through legal means. As this is quite a new turn of events, patients have a lot of questions, which we will endeavour to answer below. 

What is medical cannabis?

Medicinal cannabis, or medicinal marijuana, as it’s also commonly known, is a plant-based treatment that can be used for a variety of diseases or conditions. The properties making this plant so powerful for healing are the naturally occurring chemicals, known as cannabinoids, which have different effects on the body. Although cannabis has more than 100 different cannabinoids, it’s delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) that are predominantly used in medicinal treatments. 

THC is the chemical known to give the “high” feeling that is usually associated with cannabis use, and CBD is often considered the medicinal component. Both, however, have medicinal benefits, and both can be used for treatments tailored to individuals and their needs or particular preferences. Rest assured, patients who are prescribed THC treatment will not experience the psychoactive effects that recreational users often chase.

While medicinal cannabis comes from the same type of plants as the commonly known recreational cannabis, the primary difference is that medicinal cannabis is heavily regulated and comes exclusively from the Cannabis sativa plant. In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Association is responsible for overseeing how medicinal cannabis is accessed and ensures that strict guidelines are followed by approved cultivators, who have been producing medicinal cannabis in Australia since 2016. 

How does medical cannabis work?

The natural compounds mentioned above — cannabinoids — can help regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This connection between the plant and our own endocannabinoid system allows these natural chemicals to bind to the body’s endocannabinoid receptors and produce different effects. 

The ECS’s role in the body is to keep us in homeostasis – balance. Chronic pain, anxiety, disease and other ailments throw off this balance, and it’s the role of the ECS to bring it back.

Responsible for some of our key physiological functions, such as metabolism, immunity, mood, memory and energy, medicinal treatments that benefit the endocannabinoid system can have positive impacts on the aforementioned: metabolism, immunity, mood, memory and energy. 

Medicinal cannabis producers extract these beneficial compounds from the plant so that patients get dosages that deal directly with their particular ailment. The cannabinoids most beneficial for the endocannabinoid system are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), and CBD (cannabidiol).

What is medical cannabis used for?

In Australia, medical cannabis is considered a treatment option for those who have not found results through traditional solutions. It has garnered the most impressive results for the treatment of epilepsy and relieving nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy. In addition, it is widely prescribed for those suffering with: 

  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Neuropathic pains
  • Spasticity and pain in multiple sclerosis
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Epilepsy in adults.

Patients with chronic pains make up the largest portion of medicinal cannabis users, followed by sufferers of anxiety. and then for treatment of epilepsy. 

How do you take medical cannabis?

Most patients are happy to learn that the smoking of medicinal cannabis is strongly discouraged. The majority of prescriptions will be an oral solution, but there are a number of other ways medicinal cannabis can be taken, which is best will and will depend on the clinical indication. The primary solutions include: 

Ingestion

Oral prescriptions could take the form of sprays, oil drops or capsules. These are absorbed slowly in the body and take around 30 to 90 minutes before the effects are first felt, and can take between two to four hours before the effects reach their peak. Oral treatments can last around eight hours.

Inhalation

Vaporisation uses a special device that heats the cannabis flower, releasing the cannabinoids into a vapour form which is then inhaled by the patient. Vaporisation does not create the toxic compounds that smoking does, making it a safe alternative while offering the same rapid absorption into the body. The effects of inhaling the vapour will come within the first 90 seconds, with full effects able to be felt anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes later. Vaporisation lasts between two to four hours. 

Topical

For direct application onto the problem area, patches, gels, or creams may be recommended. 

Is medical cannabis legal in Australia?

Medicinal cannabis has been legal under the Australian Federal Government since 2016, and the means to supply medicinal cannabis has matured since then. Today, through the Therapeutic Good Administration, approved providers operate around the country to offer cannabis solutions that follow strict guidelines to ensure quality and safety. 

Legal medicinal cannabis is only accessible through a medical doctor in Australia. Patients are typically recommended to get a GP referral to visit a clinic, such as ours, to meet with medical doctors specialising in medicinal cannabis treatments. These protocols are important to ensure that patients are receiving holistic healthcare, as many patients who suffer from pain, anxiety, and other conditions may be receiving other traditional treatments. Most conventional medications are completely safe and complementary to use in conjunction with medicinal cannabis.

With a prescription from your doctor, an approved pharmacy will distribute the medicinal cannabis solution right to your door for both convenience and discretion. 

Are there any side effects with medical cannabis?

As with all medicinal treatments, there are certain side effects that patients may experience. In the case of medicinal cannabis, these side effects are most often from the THC component. THC is psychoactive, which may sound concerning, but psychoactive substances are very common in daily life. Alcohol, for example, is psychoactive, and so is caffeine. 

One interesting observation of medicinal cannabis is that users often develop a tolerance to its side effects quite quickly, while the therapeutic dose retains the same effects, which means that side effects, for some patients, will reduce in a short period, but the dose can remain stable and effective for years. 

Some of the common side effects of THC are:  

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive effects. 

Other side effects can occur when medicinal cannabis is combined with other medications that cause drowsiness. This is one more reason why it is so important to work with medical doctors for cannabis prescriptions. The team at Cannadoc work with your GP and you to get a full picture of your treatment and design a complementary solution with minimal side effects.  

When users smoke cannabis, which is the most common way to take illegally sourced cannabis, the most common side effects are coughing, sputum and bronchitis. Smoking medicinal cannabis is not advised. The damage from toxic compounds in smoke is counter to the benefits one would try to achieve through the use of medicinal cannabis. 

It’s important to remember that THC does impair cognitive functioning, which means it is dangerous to drive or work with heavy machinery. Driving while impaired by THC is illegal, regardless of your legal prescription and use. 

How do you get medical cannabis in Australia?

Medicinal cannabis can only be obtained through an Authorised Prescriber, such as Cannadoc. Some GPs may be able to source legal medicinal cannabis through the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s Special Access Scheme, but most will offer a referral to a provider like ours, who is able to consult with patients on the best treatment solution. 

At Cannadoc, we have two routes patients can take to find treatment through us:

  1. You can get a referral from your General Practitioner
  2. You can go through our self-referral pathway.

If you want to ask your GP for a referral, you can simply share our referral form and ask them to fill out your information if they deem you to be eligible. 

Should you seek to self-refer, you can go through our eligibility test to check first if you meet the eligibility criteria. 

No matter which path you take to the Cannadoc team, we complete a thorough evaluation to assess your medical history. We develop a comprehensive understanding of your situation and tailor treatment plans that meet your specific needs. This ensures that your prescription complements existing medications and other therapies to provide optimal results. 

Depending on your State, permits and applications may be necessary. Both of which we help you to navigate in order to get access to your medicinal cannabis. 

If you believe medicinal cannabis could be a helpful treatment plan for your illness or ailment, contact the team at Cannadoc, and we can guide you further with advice and support. Contact us on 1300 944 033 or email info@cannadoc.com.au to learn more.

Telehealth & Digitization: Benefitting the Medical Cannabis Industry

Just as the medical cannabis industry in Australia gains momentum, the digital revolution within the medical industry has also begun. These two developments have benefitted both patients and doctors alike, and as more and more patients seek information on medical cannabis, these innovative digital technologies are facilitating this process in so many ways.

If you are a first-time patient, or a patient already receiving medical cannabis treatment and want to discover more about the benefits and advantages of a Telehealth consultation, read on to find out more.

What are Telehealth Services for Medical Cannabis?

Telehealth services for medical cannabis enable patients to access medical cannabis treatments in a remote way. The process involves using telecommunication to carry out a diagnosis, prescribe treatment or educate patients about the potential medical cannabis treatment options available to them. This means if you are unable to visit a medical cannabis clinic in person you can still be attended by your medical cannabis doctor and have your consultations from home.

Telehealth services for medical cannabis are usually carried out through a phone call or an online meeting via the internet. Although the preferred way to have your Telehealth consultation is via videoconferencing, whichever method you select, you will speak to a doctor who will advise you on the potential medical cannabis treatment options available for your specific health condition.

There are various Telehealth service companies available, which facilitate the process of being attended by a medical cannabis doctor.

How Can I Access Medical Cannabis with a Telehealth Consultation?

Accessing medical cannabis via Telehealth is usually done through referral. Patients are only eligible if they have been approved for this treatment by a medical practitioner. Your doctor will refer you to a medical cannabis doctor and, once you have received access, your medical cannabis clinic can arrange consultations either face-to-face, via videoconference, over the phone or by Telehealth. This will even include selecting a local pharmacy to enable easy access to your medicines.

How does Telehealth Help Patients Seeking Medical Cannabis Treatments?

Using Telehealth services is beneficial in many ways. Not only can those who live in remote locations benefit from being able to easily attend their consultations, it is also cost-effective and convenient, eliminating the need to travel great distances on a regular basis for many patients.

Telehealth services also enable patients to access medical cannabis treatments even if they have physiological difficulties or problems moving around. This means, even if you are physically impaired, you can attend your consultations without any complications.

The advantages of Telehealth also include the fact that medical cannabis prescriptions are easier to access. This means repeat prescriptions can be easily issued without the need to travel to a medical cannabis clinic or attend your consultation in-person.

Taking all of these benefits together, Telehealth is also a stress-free experience. If you are a first-time patient looking for advice on potential medical cannabis treatments, the fact that you can attend your consultation from the comfort of your own home is an additional bonus.

How do Cannabis Telehealth Services Compare to In-Person Appointments?

Telehealth services are different from in-person appointments in that your online doctor cannot assess your physical health or carry out a physical health examination. For this reason, ruling out an in-person consultation altogether should be avoided. This is not to say that Telehealth should never be used, but that in-person appointments are also important as well.

As mentioned, in a similar way to in-person appointments, a medical cannabis doctor can still prescribe medical cannabis via a Telehealth service. This means, although you shouldn’t neglect to have an in-person consultation with your medical cannabis doctor, each service is similar in terms of receiving your prescriptions.

There is also no need to wait in a doctor’s office beforehand to be seen, which means that medical cannabis Telehealth services are usually faster than in-person appointments. This is beneficial for those who may work long hours and need to schedule a consultation with a medical cannabis doctor without losing time.

Although in certain circumstances an in-person visit might be more appropriate, Telehealth is considered particularly useful if your medical cannabis doctor is familiar with you or already knows your medical history.

How are Medical Cannabis Prescriptions Provided Via Telehealth Services?

In addition to having the option of receiving your prescription by post, through medical cannabis Telehealth consultations you can opt for an electronic version. The digitisation of medical cannabis prescriptions has made it significantly easier for patients to receive them. This means that your prescriber can instantly send your ‘image-based prescription’, which is https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-the-health-and-disability-sector/providing-health-care-remotely-during-covid-19#how-to-provide-prescriptions-and-prescription-medication-via-telehealth a digital image of the paper prescription, to your the pharmacy of your choice.

What are the Advantages of Digitised Medical Cannabis Prescriptions?

There are various benefits of receiving electronic medical cannabis prescriptions via Telehealth. Not only do they eliminate the need to handle and store a physical paper prescription, they also support electronic medication charts in hospitals and make the process of dispensing medicines more efficient and decreases potential dispensing errors.

How do Costs Compare for In-Person and Telehealth Medical Cannabis Consultations?

The costs of Telehealth for medical cannabis consultations are usually cheaper than an in-person consultation. This is because less money is spent on travelling to your medical cannabis clinic. The initial, comprehensive consultation at cannadoc.com.au, for instance, costs $290 with a referral. There is also a self-referral option that costs $340, which requires a few additional steps such as obtaining medical reports.

Final Thoughts

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, the demand for medical cannabis is steadily increasing, and with more and more patients trying to access medical cannabis, the benefits of Telehealth in this context are numerous. Not only can you cut travel costs and travel time, you can also have your medical cannabis consultations from the comfort of your home. Find out more about medical cannabis Telehealth consultations here.

People Also Ask

What is the difference between digitisation and Telehealth?

While digitisation encompasses the use of technology to provide appropriate prescriptions to patients, Telehealth usually refers to the telecommunications that practitioners use to provide health care remotely. Telehealth is a wide-ranging term that also includes consultation services, patient education and information given remotely.