What is medicinal cannabis?
Medicinal cannabis products use the cannabis plant to treat physical and psychological conditions. Cannabis contains chemicals called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids act on receptors in the Endocannabinoid System to produce effects in the body. The main cannabinoids in medicinal cannabis are Δ 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Medicinal cannabis contains known quantities of THC and CBD, complies with pharmaceutical manufacturing standards and is produced with the intention of treating medical conditions or symptoms.Candor uses the term medicinal cannabis. Variations include cannabis medicines, cannabinoids, cannabis-based products (CBP) and medical marijuana.
Am I eligible for medicinal cannabis?
In order to be eligible for medicinal cannabis you must have a health condition where standard approved treatments have not worked for you, or they have produced unacceptable side effects. Treatments may include medications, physical therapies (such as physiotherapy, massage, exercise, acupuncture or TENS), surgical management or psychological therapies.
To date over 130 conditions have been accepted for treatment with medicinal cannabis. Please note that being eligible for medicinal cannabis does not mean it is the right choice for you. Prescriptions are at the discretion of the doctor.
I've tried one other treatment, is that enough?
Maybe. Each situation is assessed individually. Medicinal cannabis is not intended as a first line treatment and should only be considered when other reasonable treatment options have been trialled or are unsuitable. Your doctor may suggest trialling other suitable treatments prior to medicinal cannabis if appropriate.
The more information you can provide us on what you have tried, how long you tried it and why it was ineffective or unsuitable, the more likely a TGA application will be accepted.
How do you use medicinal cannabis?
There are a number of forms of cannabis including oils, tablets, sprays and flower. Medicinal cannabis may be ingested or vaporised depending on the prescription. Your doctor will discuss options with you in your consultation.
Is it legal?
Since 2016 medicinal cannabis has been legal with a valid prescription.
Can I smoke it?
We do not recommend smoking medicinal cannabis. Smoking it increases the risk of health conditions including cancer, stroke and heart disease. It is also difficult to ensure correct dosing of medicinal cannabis when smoked. If your doctor prescribes the cannabis flower we recommend using a vape as your delivery system.
Will I get high?
CBD does not have psychoactive effects and will not produce a ‘high’. THC can have psychoactive effects. Each person reacts differently and some may experience these effects at lower doses however in general, the higher the dose the more likely someone is to experience euphoria, confusion or other psychoactive effects. The goal is to find the most effective dose with minimal side effects.
What are the side effects?
All medications have the potential to cause unwanted side effects and medicinal cannabis is no exception. Side effects may depend on the type, dose and form of cannabis you are prescribed.
The known side effects from medicinal cannabis treatment include, but are not limited to; fatigue and sedation, dizziness, confusion, nausea and vomiting, fever, decreased or increased appetite, dry mouth, and diarrhoea. Products high in THC have been associated with feeling ‘high’ or feeling dissatisfied, depression, confusion, hallucinations, paranoid delusions, psychosis, and cognitive distortion (having thoughts that are not true).
Medicinal cannabis side effects are commonly dose-dependent, so it’s important to follow the dosing recommendations.
Medicinal cannabis should only used under medical advice because it may interact with other medicines or cause side effects.
If you have any side effects or concerns throughout the duration of your treatment course, please consult with your regular GP or your Candor GP. If you are experiencing serious or concerning side effects please seek urgent help or call 000. Candor is unable to offer emergency assistance.
Is medicinal cannabis safe for everyone?
Medicinal cannabis is not recommended for patients who:
- Are pregnant or lactating
- Have a history of psychosis
- Have a personal or family history or schizophrenia
- Have a serious cardiac or heart condition
- Have a history of drug abuse or dependence
Some other factors may also impact your suitability for medicinal cannabis. For example, if you take a medication that is known to have negative interactions with it.
How much does it cost?
Our initial consult is $78. Follow up consults are $59. These fees include consultation with our doctors as well as the completion and submission of all permits and approvals.
Medicinal cannabis costs depend on the prescription including type of product, strength and dosage. Cannabis products are shipped by our partner pharmacy at standard pharmacy pricing. Product prices generally start from $2 a day. Your doctor will discuss your options with you.
What products does Candor use/prescribe?
At Candor we are agnostic with our Medicinal Cannabis prescribing. This means our doctors will work with you to find the right treatments - we don't preference one company over another.
What is a TGA approval?
Most cannabis products in Australia are ‘unapproved’ meaning they haven’t been assessed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA requires cannabis prescriptions to be approved before they can be prescribed. Doctors can apply under Special Access Schemes to get approval for each prescription.
Our Candor doctors handle all aspects of approvals and prescriptions. This is included in your consultation fee.
How long does it take?
Your Candor doctor will apply for approval once your consult is complete (including any follow up questions). The approvals process can take up to 5 days. The pharmacy then needs to order and dispense your medication. We suggest allowing 2 weeks from your consultation to receiving your medication.
Please note providing us with a referral or health summary can help fast track your application. You can upload this after your consultation is complete.
Am I guaranteed a prescription?
No. Just like any other treatment, our doctors need to assess how safe and appropriate it is for you. Prescription plans are at the doctors discretion.
Do I need a referral or health summary?
While it is not mandatory for all patients, having a referral or health summary also helps make the approval process quicker and easier.
Your health is the most important thing. There are many medications that can interact with medicinal cannabis so an accurate health summary or referral that contains your medical conditions and medications helps your doctor consider which treatments are suitable for you.
If your Candor GP feels that a referral or health summary is necessary in your particular situation you will need to organise one before they can prescribe treatment.
Can Candor replace my regular GP?
No. Candor encourages all our patients to have a regular GP, especially those using medicinal cannabis. Cannabis can interact with certain medications. If you are taking any of these medications your regular GP can adjust the dosage as required. You may also require blood tests during your treatment that your regular GP can help organise and monitor.
Will you talk to my regular GP?
We may request to contact your regular GP to obtain further information if needed. We can also provide you with a letter detailing your prescription plans and we recommend taking this letter to your regular GP so that they are aware of your treatment.
Can I drive when using medicinal cannabis?
The use of products containing THC may impair mental alertness and physical coordination, decreasing your ability to perform some tasks. You should avoid driving when using medicinal cannabis, in particular THC.
Candor recommends checking your state or territory laws with regards to driving and cannabis use. Depending on where you live it may be illegal to drive with any amount of medicinal cannabis in your system, even if you have a valid prescription.
Can I travel with medicinal cannabis?
Candor recommends checking your state or territory laws regarding traveling with medicinal cannabis. International laws may differ from local laws. Having a prescription for medicinal cannabis does not necessarily entitle you to travel with cannabis.
Can I share my treatment?
No. You cannot share your cannabis treatment with anyone else, even if they have the same condition or symptoms as you. Everyone reacts differently and your prescription is tailored to you.
What if I miss a dose?
Wait until you are due to take your next dose. Don’t double up on your intake as this will increase your risk of side effects.
Is it covered by Medicare?
No. At this stage Medicare does not cover any costs for consultations or prescriptions.
How does the consultation work?
During the initial consultation you will be required to answer a number of questions via an online form. We require complete transparency and as much information as you can provide to help ensure safe and appropriate treatment. You will also have the opportunity to upload a referral or health summary.
Your form will be reviewed by our nursing team who will respond in our messaging app to ask any further questions before passing your consultation to your Candor doctor. You doctor will then work with you to develop a treatment plan and apply for any necessary TGA approvals. Once approval is received you will be able to purchase your treatment plan and our partner pharmacy will ship your medicinal cannabis products to you.
How often do I need to have a consult?
Your Candor doctor will generally require a follow up 2 weeks after the first consult. After that your consults will likely be based on how frequently you need repeat prescriptions. You can request additional follow ups if needed.
Follow up consultations are important to assess your response to medicinal cannabis and help find the correct treatment for you. Failure to attend follow up consultations may result in further prescriptions being declined.
Can I pickup my prescription from my local pharmacy?
In most cases, yes. It does depend on the state you live in, as there are some restrictions. Let us know your preferred pharmacies details and we'll co-ordinate with them to get your prescription ready for pick up. Please note, an additional $25 admin fee applies for this option. This is to cover the time it takes for your Candor GP to liaise with your selected pharmacy and the postage cost to send your paperwork to them.