FAQ

1Preparing for a telehealth consultation?
You can help get the best from a video consultation by following these simple steps:

  • Arrive at least 15 minutes early to allow for preparation time
  • Avoid wearing brightly patterned or reflective clothing, as this may not show up well on camera
  • Switch your mobile off or to silent mode
  • Speak clearly so your voice can be picked up by the microphone
  • Look at the camera, so you can achieve good eye contact with the specialist
  • Do not hesitate to ask if you need help during the video consultation
2Are you affiliated with any product company?
Cannabis Access Clinics, and doctors working in our clinic have no operational affiliations with any third party manufacturers or suppliers of product.
3What if i do not pass the appointment screening process?
Patients who do not have conditions listed in the screening are less likely to receive approval from the TGA for medicinal cannabis. If you would still like to discuss your case with our doctors, please call us on 1300 991 477
4Can my health insurance cover the cost of the consultations and/or the cost medicinal cannabis?

Health Insurance will pay a Pharmaceutical Prescriptions benefit when:

  • The drug is only available on prescription; and
  • The drug is listed within the MIMS schedule; and
  • The name of the drug does not appear in the Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits
  • Bupa Health Insurance will not pay for:

    • Non-prescription medicine
    • Any non-TGA approved items
    • Any PBS listed items which have been supplied under the PBS (for out-patients)

    HCF health insurance doesn’t cover:

    • Services that are not delivered face to face, such as online or telephone consultations Pharmaceutical Items not registered and labelled with an AUSTR number on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
    • Registered and labelled with an AUSTR number on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
    5When is treatment with medicinal cannabis contraindicated?

    Contraindications for medicinal cannabis treatment Products containing THC are generally not appropriate for patients who:

    Have a history of hypersensitivity to any cannabinoid or products used in manufacture (e.g. sesame oil). Have severe and unstable cardio-pulmonary disease (angina, peripheral vascular disease, cerebrovascular disease and arrhythmias) or risk factors for cardiovascular disease—THC acts through the CB1 receptors to decrease blood pressure, increase cardiac demand and causes vasodilation. In those who smoke cannabis, there is a four-fold risk of myocardial infarction in the hour following smoking in those patients with unstable ischaemic heart disease. Have a previous psychotic or concurrent active mood disorder or severe anxiety disorder. Are pregnant/breastfeeding—there are some reports of pre-term labour and low birth weight, and cannabinoids appear in the breast milk. Patients with a past history of adverse reactions to cannabis These patients may be able to use a CBD product with no THC. This will depend on the symptoms being treated. Relative contraindications These conditions may not prevent prescribing, though should also be considered by the medical practitioner. Severe liver or renal disease. Drug dependence, including nicotine and heavy users of alcohol or other medications especially other sedatives such as opioids and benzodiazepines Paediatric and elderly patients—little is known about how these patient groups react to cannabis. As metabolism in the elderly is slower it is likely they will be more sensitive to the pharmacological effects of cannabis. Treatment should therefore be commenced at very low doses and adjusted very slowly. Individuals with a past medical history of schizophrenia or family history of schizophrenia may be contraindicated for cannabis use. Cannabis may elicit schizophrenic episodes in patients who are predisposed to schizophrenia. Other Considerations: Patients should not drive or operate heavy equipment while impaired or participate in responsibilities and activities that require focus and attention such as childcare

    Care should be taken in prescribing medicinal cannabis products containing THC to patients under 25 due to the potentially adverse effects on the developing brain. A risk analysis should be undertaken prior to prescribing these products.

    6I am already using cannabis, why should I use product prescribed by your doctors?

    Products prescribed by our doctors are legal in Australia. They are imported under section 5 of the prohibited substances import regulations and a compliant with TGO 93, the quality standard for medicinal cannabis. Illegal products in Australia may not contain the ingredients they claim.

    2 reasons: (1) quality assurance and (2) knowing the dose. The medicinal cannabis products that are prescribed by our doctors have to meet the quality assurance standards that are mandated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, or the TGA. The TGA is part of the federal Department of Health and they govern all the medicines that are available in Australia. They have mandated a standard for medicinal cannabis products that is known as Therapeutic Goods Order No. 93. This ensures that all cannabis used to make medicinal cannabis products is tested for potency, tested for microbiological contamination, tested for toxins that could come from the plant, tested for any residual pesticides and must come from a 100% natural source. Any other cannabis that is sold in Australia (usually illegally) does not have to be tested and there is no way to know if it is safe to use.

    All medicinal cannabis products prescribed by our doctors have to be a known concentration so patients can be sure exactly how much active ingredients they receive with each dose. With this information, a patient can tell exactly how well the product works at the first dose. If the patient needs to increase the dose, they can do this very precisely, to see if the product delivers more benefit at the higher dose. With any other cannabis, there is no way to know how much of the active ingredients are contained in the products. They do not have to be tested. All medicinal cannabis products prescribed by our doctors have to be tested and the analytical results have to be shown to the TGA before they can be used to treat Australian patients.

    7Do I have to come back once the SASB form is approved?
    Yes patient will have to have a second consultation. To discuss medication doseage and to sign consent form.
    8What is involved in the application?
    The team at Cannabis Access Clinics organise for the patient to be evaluated by one of our doctors and the team assist the doctor in completing the government application form. We need to include the condition being treated, what other medicines have been tried in the past and the name of the GP and/or specialist that has been treating the patient.
    9What are the side effects of medicinal cannabis?
    The known side-effects from medicinal cannabis treatment (both CBD and THC) include fatigue and sedation, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, fever, decreased or increased appetite, dry mouth, and diarrhoea. THC-containing compounds are also known to cause the psychotropic effects typically associated with cannabis such as feeling 'high'.
    10Can I drive while being treated with medicinal cannabis?

    Patients should not drive or operate machinery while being treated with medicinal cannabis that contains THC. All states in Australia have Mobile Drug Testing.

    The NSW Centre for Road Safety website states THC can typically be detected in saliva by a Mobile Drug Testing (MDT) stick for up to 12 hours after use. This could vary for each patient depending on the dose being administered. At this point in time, drivers will be penalised if they test positive for THC at a roadside MDT.

    11What form does the medicine take?
    Medicinal Cannabis can come in many forms including tablets, capsules, vaporisation, oils, or sprays.
    12Where do I get my medicine?
    Medicinal cannabis products can be obtained from any pharmacy. Our staff usually work with the pharmacy that is most convenient to the patient and will make sure that the price the patient pays is as low as possible.
    13How long will it take to get approval?
    Cannabis Access Clinics estimate the current approval timeline to be approximately 2 weeks. Timelines vary by state and by the complexity of the condition being applied for.
    14Is the medicine covered by the PBS Scheme?

    No. Medicinal Cannabis is not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

    Why not?

    To be considered for inclusion on to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), the product must first be registered and approved for use by the TGA. To get approval by the TGA, a company has to submit many clinical trials that take years to complete. Some clinical trials for medicinal cannabis products are underway, but they are many years away from having enough data for a TGA submission.

    15How much will it cost?
    Appointment Type Fee scheduled
    Screening 25
    Initial Consultation 200
    Post Approval Consultation 80
    Monitoring Consultation 80

    *Note: if you have had a screening appointment that cost will discounted from the initial consultation cost.

    An admin fee of $250 is payable after the initial consultation.This covers the associated costs of making an application to the TGA and the associated back-office administrative duties.

    Cancellation Policy

    We respect that your time is valuable and we appreciate that you understand ours is too. We have a 24 hour cancellation policy. Any cancellations that occur 24 hours or more before the scheduled time are able to be re-booked at no additional cost. Cancellations made within the 24hr period prior to the time of the booked appointment may result in a cancelled booking fee being applied (which will be equal to the value of the fee for that booking which had been made).

    16What conditions qualify?

    Common conditions include but are not limited to:

    • Chronic pain
    • Cancer pain
    • Spinal pain
    • Mood disorders (PTSD, anxiety, depression)
    • Arthritis
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting
    • Epilepsy
    • Eating disorders (anorexia, cachexia)
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Sleep disorders
    • HIV/Aids
    • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (crohns, colitis)
    • Others

    The TGA requires that there is some evidence medicinal cannabis will work for your condition before they approve it, so many other conditions not listed here may be approved, if there is some support in the medical literature.

    17How do I get approval for medicinal cannabis?
    The first step in your journey is to complete an online questionnaire where trained medical professionals will evaluate whether your condition is appropriate for medicinal cannabis. Please complete the patient qualification form.
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