THE WHOLISTIC MEDICAL CENTRE DIFFERENCE
At the Wholistic Medical Centre, unlike some other clinics who prescribe cannabis, we will consult with you from a holistic perspective. Our doctors are TGA approved Authorised Prescribers and can write scripts without needing approval for each individual patient.
Cannabis is not just another drug, herb, or magic bullet, we view it as an adjunct to holistic health care. So, where appropriate we can also discuss nutritional medicine, exercise, sleep, and psychological support. It may also be useful to incorporate Chinese herbs relevant to your condition to improve outcomes. The above adjuncts will potentially improve health outcomes, reducing the dose of cannabis you need and hence reduce the monthly cost.
THE CONSULTATION PROCESSES
For the initial appointment (which can be in person or via video) you will need to have relevant information such as medical history, current medication and symptoms. If Cannabis is indicated, the Wholistic Medical Centre doctor will prescribe you the appropriate form of Medical Cannabis.
During your appointment we will discuss the specific medication and starting dose and things to look for. Your doctor will write a prescription and send/give that to you. We will also endeavour to find a specific pharmacy near you that will provide you with the medication. Follow up appointments are advised 2 weeks later to establish your response and adjust the formula or the dose. After a stable outcome has been achieved a review in 3 months and again at 6 months. Note, by law, all scripts automatically expire after 6 months and need to be reviewed.
If you would like to discuss further,
please make an appointment via our website.
MEDICINAL CANNABIS PRESCRIBERS
FORMS OF MEDICAL CANNABIS
The oil form is the most commonly used method for administering medical cannabis. The whole plant extract is mixed with a food grade oil (e.g. olive, canola). A dropper / micro syringe is used to place the oil under the tongue, it is absorbed within the mouth in a few minutes. Taste is generally not an issue. .
There are also other methods like using a specialised dried herb or cartridge vaporiser.
ABSORPTION OF CANNABIS
When taken as an oil under the tongue, and not swallowed, Cannabis is absorbed directly into the blood stream. The effects can be felt in 30min to 120min and last about 6-8 hrs.
When cannabis is ingested, (as in added to food) i.e. goes through the digestive tract, where some of it is destroyed and it is less effective.
By contrast inhaled cannabis acts within a few minutes with a duration of 2 to 3 hours. Sometimes a combination of inhaled and oral cannabis can be used depending on the individual condition and need.
Can I drive?
In the doses that CBD and THC are medically prescribed driving is not likely to be impaired. The issue here are the driving laws regarding Drug Testing. Unlike alcohol, which allows certain permissible amounts, it is an offence in Australia to have any detectable amount of THC while driving. Even if your driving ability is not impaired. So, until Mobile Drug Testing legislation allows for minimal levels of medicinal THC (similar to alcohol), it is not advisable for you to drive when taking medication containing THC. Please discuss your individual circumstances with our doctors.
MEDICAL CONDITIONS that can respond to MEDICAL CANNABIS
- Chronic pain and neuropathy
- Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV)
- Cancer pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Difficulty with falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Sleep disturbance associated with Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA)
WHO CANNOT USE CANNABIS?
Medical Cannabis is generally contraindicated in:
- Unstable cardiopulmonary disease
- Cardiovascular risk factors
- Pregnancy and breast feeding.
- Active mood disorder, a history of psychotic disorder, schizophrenia.
- Hypersensitivity to cannabis products
CAUTION REQUIRED IN:
- Patients < 25 years old. Cannabis can be used with careful monitoring in children/young adults with certain conditions like epilepsy (e.g. Dravet syndrome- drug resistant epilepsy) or autism.
- Patients with risk of fall e.g. frail elderly patients.
DRUG INTERACTIONS – CAUTION IF TAKING THESE MEDICATIONS
- Sedatives and analgesics- alcohol, benzodiazepines, anti-depressants, anti-epileptics. Their effects will have to be discussed during your consultation.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF CANNABIS ?
The most common side effects are dry mouth, light-headedness, drowsiness, and anxiety. These effects are all related to the type and dose of medical cannabis and are completely reversable.
That’s why we use the principle of “start low and go slow”. Each patient is started at a low dose, with any dose changes done gradually and closely monitored, especially in the initial phase. Once on a stable dose, the follow up visits can be less frequent. The aim is to be on a dose that provides maximum benefit with minimal side effects. (the sweet spot). Each patient will be different.
COSTS OF MEDICAL CANNABIS
The cost of the Medical Cannabis depends on the exact product recommended (CBD:THC ratio, supply company and pharmacy). The cost can vary between $95-$225 per script. Each script could last 3 to 20 weeks depending on your final effective dose.
Note- Currently cannabis products are not on the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme). So, there is no government subsidy. So, all the costs of the cannabis products as supplied by the pharmacy are privately paid for.
ADDITIONAL SERVICES THAT MAY COMPLEMENT MEDICAL CANNABIS
If you wish to gain from mindfulness-based psychotherapy, in addition to the cannabis, to assist in your holistic treatment, then a follow up consultation will be required with Dr Nicholas Bassal.