An appointment at a medical cannabis clinic works a little differently to making an appointment with your local GP.
While both involve a qualified doctor listening to your health concerns and making a treatment recommendation, a consultation at a medical cannabis clinic will sometimes have some extra steps and involve different questions.
This post will take you through the process at a medical cannabis clinic, step by step.
Step 1: Eligibility Screening and Booking
Before you book your appointment, you’ll usually be asked a brief series of questions to help determine your eligibility for medical cannabis. These will be questions about the nature of your condition, how long it's been an issue and how you've previously tried to treat it.
As an alternative therapy, medical cannabis can only be prescribed to people with a condition that has lasted for longer than 3 months and that has either resisted other treatments or those treatments produced unwanted side effects.
If your pre-screening is successful, you'll be invited to make a booking with a nurse. Once you've made your booking, you'll fill out a pre-consultation form that provides personal and medical information that will allow the clinical staff to better assess your needs.
Step 2: Nurse Consultation
Your pre-assessment consultation will usually begin with a telehealth conversation with a registered nurse, who'll conduct an in-depth evaluation to determine your current health needs, medical history and concerns.
During this consultation, you and your nurse will go over your medical history in detail. This will include a discussion of your chronic condition (or conditions), along with how your condition has been treated in the past.
Your nurse will introduce you to the various medical cannabis products that might be prescribed for someone with your condition and experience.
Step 3: Doctors Appointment
If your nurse thinks medical cannabis could be good fit based on your condition and medical history, you'll have a 10-minute telehealth consultation with a GP.
Your doctor will go over the information collected in your nursing appointment and if they think you could benefit from medical cannabis they'll recommend a personalised treatment plan and explain the products they're prescribing to you.
This is a good opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Your doctor will have a deep understanding of medical cannabis and its potential benefits and risks and should be able to clearly explain how these medicines work and the role they could play in your recovery plan.
Step 4: Prescription Dispensing and Delivery
What happens after you've been issued a prescription depends on your clinic. Many medical cannabis clinics have online patient portals that allow you instantly order and pay for your prescribed medicines. Your medication will then be sent to a partner pharmacy for dispensing. Once the medicine has been dispensed it will be sent to your house in a discreet box. End-to-end this process usually takes 5–10 days.
Other clinics may send you your prescription and require you to pick your medicine up from a nearby pharmacy. Not all pharmacies have all medical cannabis products on hand, so there may be a delay as the pharmacy orders in your product.
Step 5: Follow-Up Appointment
Medical cannabis is a new form of treatment and affects everyone differently, so it's important to schedule follow-up care to ensure your treatment plan is working as intended.
Most clinics will schedule a follow-up consultation with your doctor for around two months after your initial appointment. During this appointment, your doctor will talk through your experience so far, assess your health and wellbeing and adjust your prescription if required. Follow-up appointments are usually cheaper than initial appointments and take around 15 minutes.
However, if you're experiencing unpleasant side effects or feeling like your condition isn't responding to the treatment you've been prescribed, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to discuss your concerns.