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 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.
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.
The Cannabis Sativa species produces both cannabis and hemp. For this reason, people have had some difficulty distinguishing between these products for many years. Not only do producers and marketers of these products often conflate the terms ‘cannabis’ and ‘hemp’ without knowing the difference, the many years of prohibition of these products has not helped. It has directly led to a lack of knowledge about cannabis vs hemp. This is another factor that makes it difficult to understand their key differences.
But it is still incredibly important to know how to distinguish between them, particularly if you are considering medical cannabis as a potential treatment. They are different in terms of their usages, properties, and characteristics, which we will explore and examine in this short post.
The Difficulty of Classifying Cannabis vs Hemp
Classifying cannabis and hemp is difficult for various reasons. In addition to the lack of knowledge available about these products, across the globe there are different laws to classify cannabis vs hemp.
Although it is generally accepted in the US that hemp is classified as containing less than 0.3 percent THC, in Europe this defining percentage was (until recently) 0.2 percent. In Europe however, this has recently changed, and percentages are now the same as the US. There are also some exceptions to this law. In Europe for instance, not all cannabis that contains less than 0.3 percent THC is classified as hemp. The plant strain needs to come from an EU approved hemp list.
In Australia, hemp classification varies by state in that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) must be below 1 percent in New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland and 0.35 per cent in Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania. Regarding hemp products sold in Australia, they must also meet strict requirements. For example, hemp seed oil must have a total cannabidiol (CBD) content of 0.0075% or less and a total tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 0.005% or less. If these cannabinoid amounts are greater than what is defined by the law, then the product is considered a scheduled therapeutic good.
Cultivation Method of Cannabis vs Hemp
One way that we can distinguish between these products is to recognise that cannabis and hemp are cultivated in different ways. Cannabis usually needs specific conditions (especially for pharmaceutical products) and tightly controlled variables such as temperature, light and humidity conditions. If these factors are not properly monitored, this can lead to disease and the eventual death of the plant. With this in mind, it is usually more expensive than hemp, which doesn’t require as much control or maintenance. Hemp is also commonly grown outside and has a longer growth cycle.
Usages of Cannabis vs Hemp
Although the popularity of cannabis for recreational drug use is indisputable, it is also considered a medicinal drug. Unfortunately, there is still not a lot of clinical evidence for doctors to access if they are interested in prescribing a medicinal cannabis product to a patient.
Hemp, on the other hand, is available in a large selection of products. It also takes various forms – from seeds to oils and capsules, and these many types of hemp are used in foods, body and skincare products, while some fibres are even used for fuel.
Uses of Cannabis Oil vs Hemp Seed Oil
Cannabis oil is usually created through various extraction methods using the plants flowers from the Cannabis Sativa or Indica strains. Although it is similar to hemp seed oil in various ways it offers the addition of cannabinoids like CBD and THC. It usually comes with a certificate of analysis, which provides details of what the product contains. Also, whereas the benefits of hemp seed oil have been recognised for years for skincare and beauty regimes, cannabis oil is a product that is new to most markets.
Hemp seed oil, which is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plan, can be used for a range of foods as it provides an excellent source of nutrients such as omegas’ 3 and 6. Not only is hemp seed oil also rich in antioxidants, it is also an excellent source of protein.
Hemp Food Products
Hemp based foods are in high demand. The supply generally meets this demand around the world, with food products such as hemp seed spreads, energy bars and oil being produced and available to purchase from natural food stores.
Levels of THC in Cannabis vs Hemp: the Essential Difference
Cannabis refers to the Cannabis Sativa or Indica plant that is grown for its high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – (a psychoactive substance found in the flowers of the plant), hemp refers to a strain of Cannabis Sativa that contains at most, very small quantities of THC.
People Also Ask
Is Hemp Different from Cannabis?
Hemp and cannabis might be derived from the same plant (Cannabis Sativa), but they are used in different ways. Hemp can be used for creating textiles, fabrics, and can be used in food and skin products. Cannabis, on the other hand, is used for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Does Hemp Contain CBD?
There are certain strains of hemp that have high cannabidiol (CBD) content. Some manufacturers use these plants to produce CBD oil.
If you have carried out in-depth research into medical cannabis you might have noticed that internet is filled with information. You might have even made the decision that this course of treatment is worth exploring. But one of the most frequent questions asked by patients before they begin medical cannabis treatment in Australia is what they can expect during the consultation process.
There are many things to anticipate before a consultation with a medical cannabis consultant, and it is important to be prepared, but the most reputable, fully qualified doctors will make the process as simple as possible.
If you are preparing for a consultation and feel slightly apprehensive or unsure about what it is likely to consist of, here are 7 things you can expect during a meeting with your medical cannabis consultant.
1. Expect Paperwork and Applications
Before your consultation with your medical cannabis doctor, which can last up to 45 minutes depending on various factors, you will need to fill out your registration paperwork and pay an initial cost. The costs charged by a medical cannabis consultant are for the consultation itself, paperwork fees to bodies like the Department of Health and/or application/s to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for permits to access. (Medical cannabis is regulated by the TGA.)
2. Prepare for a Discussion on Your Condition
After you have scheduled in your appointment with your medical cannabis consultant, and completed your registration paperwork, you will have your first consultation. This consultation might either be through a telehealth appointment or you might attend the clinic to discuss your course of treatment with your medical cannabis consultants face to face.
The consultation includes discussing your health condition, your symptoms and how medical cannabis treatment works. You can expect to give information on your previous medical history while focusing on the particular condition to be treated with medical cannabis. If treatment with medicinal cannabis is not appropriate, we will let you know and provide alternative suggestions.
Your medical cannabis consultation also includes discussing the previous medications you have taken in the past for the specific condition you would like treated. It also includes a discussion on the medications that you are taking now, which is important as there is the potential for them to interact with medical cannabis.
3. Expect to Give Your Reasons for Considering Medical Cannabis
Part of your consultation will include a discussion on why you have considered taking medical cannabis. You might therefore want to prepare to describe the reasons why you have chosen this specific course of treatment. It might be that your previous medication options have had intolerable side effects or that they have been ineffective in treating your condition.
Also, as you are serious about this course of treatment, you should expect to give an outline as to what you expect from medical cannabis as a treatment. You can expect your medical cannabis consultant to ask about your expectations. In this case it is important to be prepared to refer to any research you have undertaken and describe the potential benefits of medical cannabis in relation to your specific condition.
4. You Will Learn About the Different Medical Cannabis Products
During your consultation with a medical cannabis doctor, you can also expect to receive the latest, most up to date information on medical cannabis. Medical cannabis consultants aim to provide you with a detailed explanation on exactly what medical cannabis is, in addition to how it is used.
Not only will you gain facts on the risks versus benefits, and the pros and cons of medical cannabis, your medical cannabis consultants will give you information on the science behind medical cannabis and the range of products available. This might include the benefits and drawbacks of things like capsules or medical cannabis oil.
You can also expect to learn about the uses of cannabinoids, potential medical interactions of medical cannabis and how to use it safely.
Medical cannabis can interact with other medicines, which is why it is essential to inform your medical cannabis consultant of the medications you are currently taking.
5. You will Receive a Treatment Plan and a Dosing Guide
As part of your medical cannabis consultation you will receive a treatment plan, which the nurse or doctor will explain to you in detail. You will also be given information on dosing and be guided through the minimal effective dose. This is important as the minimal effective dose will enable you to continue with your daily life while ensuring that you are getting the best care.
6. Your Consultant will Discuss the Access Process with you
During your consultation with your medical cannabis consultant, part of the discussion will include information on the access process.
Access and approval of medical cannabis is usually granted via access schemes such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) Special Access Scheme. Your medical cannabis doctor will apply to the TGA to confirm that your condition would be well treated with medical cannabis. Expect to receive details about the medical cannabis access process, in addition to the various steps involved.
7. Expect to Receive a Follow up in Four to Six Weeks for a Review of your Progress
Your medical cannabis consultant will also want to follow up with you and review your progress. You can expect to book another appointment in which you can discuss how you are progressing with your chosen medical cannabis products.
In addition to the specific medical cannabis products you have been taking, you will be able to review the dose of medical cannabis you have been prescribed. Your medical cannabis consultant will be able to make adjustments to your dosage in line with your progress if required.
People Also Ask
Where Can I Find a Medical Cannabis Consultant?
There are a range of medical cannabis clinics available to you in Australia. Cannadoc is one such example, and our reputable, fully qualified medical cannabis doctors and consultants are available to help you access the treatment you require for your condition. Our consultants can assist you whether you are based in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth or Adelaide. Contact us today to find out exactly how we can assist you with your treatment.
Opening up to your doctor about alternative treatments such as medical cannabis might be daunting for a number of reasons. You might be anxious about the fact that medical cannabis is a very new type of treatment in Australia, and both you and your GP might not have much experience in this area.
What this means for you as a patient is that you should undertake a bit of preparation before approaching your GP about medical cannabis and asking for a referral to our clinic. Because, as there are a few hurdles to clear when applying for medical cannabis, being prepared in this area is important.
Improving your health and getting your symptoms treated shouldn’t be stressful, but if you are concerned about how to talk to your GP about medical cannabis as a potential treatment, the information provided here will point you in the right direction.
Why Being Prepared for Your Consultation is Fundamental
Although talking to a GP about medical cannabis and being referred to a medical cannabis clinic in Australia might fill you with worry, being prepared always helps. Even though many doctors might be reluctant to prescribe medical cannabis, some patients are finding it is changing their lives for the better every day. And by approaching your doctor with the following facts, the appropriate mind set, and these tips, you will soon be on your way.
Gather as Much Information on Your Condition as Possible
The more you know about your health condition and the ways that medical cannabis might affect you, the better. So begin by researching your illness as much as possible. Be knowledgeable about your condition before approaching your GP and being referred to a medical cannabis doctor – this way, you will have more of an insight into your GP’s responses and questions.
You should also look into the benefits and potential disadvantages of using medical cannabis, specifically in relation to your illness and symptoms, and be prepared to potentially answer questions about your choice of treatment.
Approach Your GP with Appropriate Questions
Your list of questions will act as a guide and help you to find out more about the uses of medical cannabis in relation to your condition. They will also show that you are serious about this line of treatment and are committed to finding out more. Asking about things like side effects of medical cannabis, or its potential interactions with other medications you might be taking, are both important questions that shouldn’t be forgotten. Being familiar with these things will also assist the Cannadoc doctors during your initial consultation.
You might also go a step further and ask about the most appropriate form of medical cannabis to take. If your GP is unsure ours doctors are experts in this space and will educate you thoroughly. Ask the right questions, as their referral to a medical cannabis clinic in Australia is important for your treatment.
Let your doctor know that you considering specialist medical cannabis doctor seriously.
Study Up on Types and Effects of Medical Cannabis
You might find it a challenge to discover information on the effects of medical cannabis but learning about its properties is another important step to take. As a relatively new treatment, medicinal cannabis has many unknowns. Learning about the way it affects the endocannabinoid system, for instance, requires a lot of research.
By being aware of the clinical trials and studies that have been undertaken into medicinal cannabis you will be able to understand the advice of your medical cannabis doctor at Cannadoc more easily. You will also be able to actively participate in the discussion concerning your quality of treatment.
It also helps to be conscious of the range of forms that medical cannabis can take and the possibility of ingesting it via different types of food.
Being knowledgeable on the pros and cons of medical cannabis can even go a long way to informing your GP where they might lack information. So, not only is approaching a medical cannabis doctor advised for further information via a referral, you should also provide your GP with the details of your medical cannabis clinic. This way, your GP can gain more information about medical cannabis.
Remind Your GP that Medical Cannabis is a Legal Medicine
The fact that your GP might not be completely knowledgeable about medical cannabis means that reminding them it is a medicine is sometimes necessary. The fact that it helps alleviate patients’ symptoms on a daily basis means it is a useful medicine that is regulated and approved by a medical body.
The fact remains, though, that medical cannabis was only legalised fairly recently in 2017. This means that reminding your GP that it is legal might also be important in some cases.
Highlight that Past Treatment Plans Have Been Unsuccessful
Once you have sufficient knowledge of your condition, medical history and ways that past treatment has been unsuccessful, you should use this as a basis to consider medical cannabis as a treatment.
The fact that past treatments have been unsuccessful is a requirement to be eligible for medical cannabis treatment, so being prepared with a log of your previous treatments is highly recommended. Having details on your past treatments, why they have provided slight relief versus why they have for the most part failed is a useful approach. With these details, your GP may refer you to a medical cannabis clinic in Australia, will also help you.
This means you should come prepared with your notes to help you explain each of your unsuccessful treatments. By describing the negative psychological and physiological side effects, for instance, you can make your GP aware that medical cannabis could be a better alternative to your past treatments.
Think About What You Expect from Medical Cannabis Therapy
As your GP will refer you to a specialist medical cannabis doctor such as Cannadoc, not only should you discuss your symptoms, you should consider your expectations of medical cannabis based on your research. Your medical cannabis doctor will validate your symptoms, and the more information you provide them with, the more of a case you can build to access a better quality of life.
Sharing what you expect to get from a medical cannabis treatment reinforces your commitment to alleviating your symptoms.
People Also Ask
What should I do if my GP knows little about medical cannabis?
If you find that your GP doesn’t know enough about medical cannabis, inform them that there are various sources and information available. You can carry out your own research and provide your GP with the details of a specialist medical cannabis clinic in Australia.
What should I do if my GP declines to support my requirements?
If your GP declines to help, don’t worry. You still have other options. You might choose to go to a different local GP and present your research to another doctor, or call our medical cannabis clinic in Australia directly to gain further information.
You do not want to miss this one! Up next in Cannadoc’s webinar series we have a very special industry guest, Adam Miller. Adam is an industry star and one of Australia’s leading medicinal cannabis business consultants. He is the Head of Strategic Accounts for MediPharm Labs Australia, a cannabis extraction powerhouse based in Victoria. He is also the founder of The Medical Cannabis Council, Australia’s largest not-for-profit industry body. He is a frequent public speaker, often featured in major publications and publishes a widely read industry newsletter. This is going to be a great session!
Dr David Feng and Adam will discuss a range of interesting topics including industry news, import/export updates and AU/NZ developments. See you there!