Talking to your general practitioner or specialist regarding your cannabis consumption isn’t something that many would have felt comfortable doing in the past. With stigma decreasing, clinical acceptance increasing, as well as more countries legalisating around the globe, the conversations regarding cannabis between patients and their medical care providers are becoming more commonplace. In countries where cannabis is legal, sparking these conversations can be much more comfortable. One reason why these conversations need to occur is so that patients can evaluate whether medical cannabis is suitable for them, or receive a summary of their healthcare and/or a referral to consult with a medical cannabis specialist to obtain a legal prescription. Let’s take a closer look at how to get that conversation rolling when the time comes.
Asking For A Referral Or Health Summary
Asking your doctor for a referral for medical cannabis (or a health summary) should be as simple as asking; however, some doctors may not be as willing to provide these items due to their lack of education regarding the different types of medical cannabis available in Australia, methods of administration, potential side effects, drug-drug interactions, medicinal benefits or the administrative requirements to apply for an approval through the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This is where it is essential that you, as a patient, are very familiar with not only your health, but specifically how cannabis may aid in providing you relief from said symptoms or conditions. Once you are prepared with the research and data that may support cannabis as a treatment for your own ailments and have done your research on a potential cannabis clinic for a referral, it’s time to spark the conversation with your doctor. Here are some tips and advice from our in-house doctor regarding how to help that conversation go smoothly with a positive result.
One of Tetra Heath’s medical cannabis specialists, Dr Wendy Tyshing, reinforces the importance of obtaining this medical information prior to a consultation for cannabis, “It’s imperative to understand a patient’s treatment history prior to consultation so any drug-drug interactions or contraindications can be taken into account. Often, medical cannabis specialists are not the patient’s primary doctor, so this information allows us to take a holistic approach to patient care while maintaining good clinical practice.”
Step By Step Guide
If you have questions regarding how to become a cannabis patient in Australia, check out the step by step guides below!
Tetra requires either a Referral or a Health Summary from your doctor, but other clinics may require different information. It’s best to know this prior to speaking to your doctor.
- You can request a referral from your physician by visiting them in person, or obtain a health summary from your doctor’s practice by simply calling the clinic reception staff and asking if they could email or fax your Health Summary. Sometimes, the clinic does require an authorisation to release this information, which you can obtain here.
- Consult with your medical cannabis specialist to determine if medical cannabis could be suitable for you.
- Sign a treatment consent form to become a medical cannabis patient and provide it to your health care provider.
- Wait for approval and obtain cannabis products for use from a Pharmacy.
What Happens If You Are Rejected?
If you are rejected, the first thing you should do in most cases is seek out a different doctor and obtain a second opinion which will hopefully result in a referral. There is no limitation on the conditions in which general practitioners or specialists can recommend the use of medical cannabis for. To date, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved a wide range of conditions including but not limited to the following.
- Anorexia and Wasting Associated with Chronic Illness (Such As Cancer)
- Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting
- Chronic, Cancer Related, And Neuropathic Pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Palliative Care
- Spasticity from Neurological Conditions
To read more, you can learn more here.
The most important thing to do is to remain calm and not become discouraged. Cannabis is an option that is used medicinally by millions of people around the globe, and if it’s right for you, whether today or in the near future, the plant will be there for you!
Step by Step for Utilising Tetra Health to Obtain Your Referral!
Utilising Tetra Health to Help
- Book an initial consultation with nurse specialists.
- If necessary, a Tetra Health nurse can arrange to obtain a Health Summary.
- Complete an appointment with one of our specialist physicians
- Our team will submit relevant documentation to the TGA and relevant State Health Department for approval.
- Receive your approval within 24-48 hours!
- Order your medication from Pharmacy
- Follow Up with our experts for ongoing treatment support!