Find out how to access medical cannabis through your regular doctor
Accessing medical cannabis in Australia
In Australia, over 1,500 health practitioners are now prescribing medical cannabis to over 50,000 Australian who are using it to treat chronic conditions such as pain, anxiety, insomnia, neuropathic pain, cancer, epilepsy and many other prevalent illnesses. With research and clinical evidence growing annually and doctors prescribing the medicine for over 30 different ailments, medical cannabis could be a treatment alternative for patients where conventional medications failed. While the market is rapidly growing, many doctors are unfamiliar or misinformed about the processes to access medical cannabis. We can support your doctor and provide practical guidance on the access pathway.
The access pathway has been simplified for doctors
The medical cannabis market has made significant progress since it was first legalised in October 2016 - regulatory processes have been streamlined and awareness amongst the medical community increased. Today, all general practitioners in Australia (excluding Tasmania) can prescribe medical cannabis without needing an additional approval by a specialist. Doctors can apply via the online portal of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for approval of the prescription, and will usually receive the outcome within 24 hours of submission. While the processes have changed for the better, many doctors still lack education or have misperceptions about medical cannabis. We are bridging the gap and mediating the conversation between you and your doctor to ensure an educated decision based on the latest available information can be derived.
What to consider when approaching your doctor
While medical cannabis has been legal for over four years and processes been streamlined, many doctors are still hesitant or lack experience in prescribing it. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is not commonly taught in medical school and unless your doctor has actively read up on it, they likely don't have a detailed understanding on how to evaluate or prescribe medical cannabis. Additionally there are a number of practical process considerations that your doctor might not feel comfortable with, as the regulatory environment is changing at a fast-pace, and it can be difficult to stay up-to-date. This means you will likely be the one to initiate the conversation. Before you go and speak to your doctor, do some research online on websites such as Alternaleaf to get an idea if medical cannabis might be suitable for your situation. Consider the different types of treatments you’ve tried and the impact it had on you and your life - if you feel medical cannabis could be a better alternative, then we can help you make the first step.
The GP advantage over cannabis clinics
While some doctors might be a bit behind on the topic of medical cannabis, they have your best interest at heart. Doctors would likely take a longer time and wait for more research and clinical studies to feel comfortable prescribing a new medication. Some cannabis clinics have therefore emerged to temporarily fill this void, however it is unlikely that they will remain in the long-run, as doctors become more familiar with the topic, and in light of the prohibitive costs many clinics charge. Your GP will have the best insights on your general health and medical history, and you will be able to maintain this trusted relationship, which ultimately gives you quality and consistency of care, cost-effectively. We understand that as a patient you might not be able to wait for your doctor, which is why we are here to mediate the conversation and provide the information and confidence your doctor requires to consider medical cannabis for your situation.