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How To Bring Up Medicinal Cannabis With Your GP

June 15, 2020

You may have heard in the news that medicinal cannabis is now legal in Australia – or you might just be exploring your options. Regardless of your reasons for being here, the fact remains that pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis is now an acceptable option for those seeking an affordable source of treatment and for a wide variety of ailments. But with new forms of treatment comes new questions, so we’ve put together this piece to help you navigate the process of bringing up the subject of medicinal cannabis with your GP. 

First things first. 

Who Can Prescribe Medicinal Cannabis?

The good news is – any registered doctor in Australia can prescribe medicinal cannabis – however, the best doctor to speak with, is your current GP. They already know yours and your family’s medical history, current or pre-existing conditions and will best know whether medicinal cannabis could potentially fit into your current treatment plan. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the determination of whether or not medicinal cannabis is right for you, will come down to your doctor’s professional judgement. If you have tried other treatments unsuccessfully or suffer side effects from traditional therapy treatments, the Doctor may see medical cannabis as an apt form of treatment for you. They’ll submit an application to the fine folks at the Therapeutic Goods Administration, on your behalf. Your doctor must be the one to do this as you’re not legally allowed to apply yourself. 

What Conditions Make You Eligible For A Medicinal Cannabis Prescription?

There’s no set list of ailments, conditions or symptoms that make you more or less eligible for a medicinal cannabis subscription. But it’s a treatment that is effective and approved for use across a wide range of conditions. Again, the best way to find out if medicinal cannabis is right for you, is to speak with your doctor. 

That said, some of the more common conditions that the TGA approves medicinal cannabis for, include chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting as a result of chemotherapy, palliative care and more. More than 130 conditions have been approved by the TGA for medical cannabis.

How To Bring It Up With Your GP 

Be informed 

It pays to conduct your own research so that you can ask your doctor relevant questions – understanding what quality product is, as well as the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) access guidelines, will help you have a productive conversation with your GP. 

Be safe

Taking any form of cannabis from the black market or from a “friend” is putting your safety at risk – the fact is, you don’t know what’s in that product, how it was cultivated or how it was processed. Pesticides, mould, and other impurities can cause major health complications, so why risk your health when a pharmaceutical grade legal cannabis product can be prescribed by your Doctor and dispensed at your local pharmacy? Talk to your Doctor, instead. 

Write down your questions

While you’re doing your research, make a note of all your questions as you go. Some common queries that people often take to a doctor include: 

  • What would be the best way for me to take medicinal cannabis? 
  • Can medicinal cannabis or CBD mix with my current medications?
  • Are there any side-effects I should be aware of? 
  • Could medicinal cannabis provide therapeutic help for my condition? 

Book for a general appointment 

You don’t need to disclose the reason for your visit – simply phone or email your GP as you usually would and book-in for a general consult. 

Don’t be nervous 

The important thing to remember is that consulting with your doctor should be a judgement-free experience. Raising why you may use Cannabis or asking if Medical Cannabis could be considered by your doctor as a potential form of treatment is a great way to open up a dialogue about your general health and wellbeing. Most importantly, it’s a recognised and completely legal form of treatment for a variety of conditions – the NSW government have even set up a specific portal to help guide patients through the process.

The challenge can be that, because medicinal cannabis is such a new option for doctors to legally prescribe, some practitioners have more knowledge than others on the subject. So next time you’re in for an appointment and want to have a deeper discussion about medicinal cannabis, direct him or her to the link below if they seem to be less informed than you expected.   

Doctors’ portal: https://medreleafaustralia.com.au/information-for-doctors/

Find out more

If you have further questions, and would like to speak with the team from Medreleaf, click here.