Managing your treatment

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Managing your treatment

Legal access to medicinal cannabis treatment is increasing in Australia. There is growing demand for plant-based therapy using cannabidiol (CBD) oil, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and medicinal cannabis products available via the special access scheme.

Use of medicinal cannabis

The majority of Australian’s support access to medicinal cannabis, although some members of the medical profession feel uneducated regarding medical cannabis access pathways and suitability of patients for medical cannabis prescription.

At Cannatrek, we provide patients, doctors, and pharmacists with a streamlined service for accessing government approved CBD and other cannabis medicines with a minimum of fuss.

Prescribing medicinal cannabis

The cannabis plant contains two well-known cannabinoids; delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

THC is responsible for the ‘high’ effect associated with cannabis. Clinical trials support the efficacy of THC in treating a range of conditions, including:

  • Epilepsy
  • Neurological conditions
  • Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic pain conditions

CBD has a wide range of pharmacological uses, without the intoxicating effects. Evidence suggests CBD has the potential to treat:

  • Epilepsy
  • Spasticity
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic non-cancer pain
  • Palliative care
  • Opioid drug and alcohol dependence
  • Neurodegenerative disorders

Most approvals under SAS-B are related to chronic non-cancer pain conditions such as arthritis, lower back pain and neuropathic pain. Chronic pain is a common condition in Australia, and if you are affected you may benefit from medicinal cannabis treatments.

Over-the-counter CBD isn’t available in Australia yet, although the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is examining simpler access pathways for health professionals and consumers.

Doctors and Patients

Nabiximols (Sativex) is the only cannabis-based medicine product currently listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). It is an oromucosal spray containing THC and CBD, and is used for treating spasticity and multiple sclerosis. A cannabidiol CBD oil product, Epidiolex, is being assessed for expediated product approval in Australia, while other medicines such as dronabinol are being explored.

Other cannabis medicines in Australia are considered unregistered medicines at this time. However, the Australian Government, Department of Health, and Therapeutic Goods Administration all accept the efficacy of medical marijuana for treating a wide range of medical conditions.

Unregistered cannabis-plant based medicines can be accessed via the TGA Special Access Scheme Category B (SAS-B), or through the Authorised Prescriber Scheme. SAS-B and Authorised Prescriber applications can be submitted without cost with Cannatrek, and we expediate your order with same-day service.

Patients: Your current doctor may be reluctant to explore medicinal cannabis treatment options with you. Cannatrek can connect you with registered Authorised Prescriber Scheme doctors in your area.

Doctors: Cannatrek can assist with your registration as an Authorised Prescriber, and also fill script orders on your behalf.

Pharmacists: We expediate product delivery to pharmacies and dispensaries all around Australia. Cannatrek provides a seamless service from doctor to patient.

Safety and Efficacy

The cannabis plant has been studied extensively in clinical trials related to the effects of cannabis on the endocannabinoid system. There are now more than 100 conditions medical marijuana can treat, according to the TGA, and the list of medical purposes keeps growing.

Reluctance to using medical marijuana by doctors and allied healthcare professionals is waning. When used appropriately, medical marijuana causes few side effects. However, medical marijuana use should be distinguished from recreational use of cannabis sativa or untested synthetic cannabinoid products.

Treatments for medical conditions

Patients who have suffered for three months or more from a chronic condition that hasn’t responded to traditional treatments may be suitable candidates for trying medicinal cannabis. Using the Cannatrek online portal, Special Access Scheme applications are simplified and the entire process is easy to manage.

The Cannatrek online service provides access to medicinal cannabis products for authorised doctors and chemists. We are the one-stop-shop for general practitioners and pharmacists who want to deliver best possible outcomes for patients suffering chronic pain and difficult-to-treat health conditions.

Guidance for safe use

Patients can have confidence in Cannatrek. We partner with medical practitioners who conduct periodic reviews to ensure the medicinal cannabis product and dosage is correct for each patient. For comprehensive patient information you can trust, speak to a Cannatrek product expert today and get your medicinal cannabis treatment journey started.

Seeking medical advice

There is no longer a stigma attached to using medicinal cannabis treatment products. The health effects of cannabis are undisputed for treating physical and psychological impairments, and the products are supported by the Federal Government, the Office of Drug Control, and agencies such as NPS Medicinewise.

If you are seeking advice about the ways medicinal cannabis can treat health conditions, contact Cannatrek. Our comprehensive service is available to individuals, clinicians, and pharmacists who prioritise healthy, natural plant-based alternative medicines that really work.

Effects of medicinal cannabis

It’s recommended to undertake an initial treatment plan lasting from 4 – 12 weeks so the medicinal cannabis treatment therapy can be assessed. Your plan should include:

  • Treatment goals and expected outcomes
  • Patient-specific support
  • Risk management
  • Periodic monitoring, reviews, tests
  • Treatment exit strategy

Finding the perfect dosage for maximising therapeutic effects and minimising adverse effects such as drowsiness requires doctor/patient communication. It’s best to start with a low dosage or concentration and increase the dose over time to establish the optimum medicinal cannabis treatment for you.

Cannatrek eliminates supply chain problems that can prevent access to a product that has been specified in the SAS-B application. We are a technology driven company with a vertical integration approach called ‘From Seed to Patient’.

We are involved in the entire supply chain for superior quality control, predictive inventory, strong distribution networks, and greater market insight into demand for new products. At Cannatrek, we support good health every step of the way, so connect with Cannatrek today for more information about our suite of products and services.

Managing your treatment

Receiving your prescribed plant based medicine after completing the application process can feel like the end of your journey. However, this is not the case, and it is essential to continually monitor your experience with the medication throughout your treatment.

Patients have different responses to each product depending on a range of factors, and occasionally, the results are not ideal. It is important to monitor your experience and consult with your doctor if you are experiencing problems with your prescription, as there are several things that can be done to rectify any issues you might be having.

Common problems

Efficacy

Occasionally, it may appear that your pain management product is not working or is failing to provide the relief you were hoping for. This may be due to an incorrect dose, or an incompatible product. Speak to your doctor about your concerns, as there are many factors that come into play. You can also:

1. Try a different titration (usage)
Titration is essentially the strength and composition of a product. A different formula may prove more effective.

2. Change the dose
It is common practice to begin on the lowest dose deemed effective, and sometimes cost concerns can lead to further lowering of the dose taken. However, this will reduce the efficacy of the product, and an increase in dosage may be needed. Speak to your doctor about slowly increasing your dose to reach an effective level.

3. Try a different product
Whole plant medication contains a variety of compounds. These compounds vary from one plant to another and can have different effects on different people. It is possible to have a different product whilst keeping the compound levels constant. It may be that you would find greater effectiveness from a different plant based formulation. Speak to your doctor about trying a different product to find the one most suitable for you.

Side effects

Cannabinoid based products sometimes have side effects, most of which are manageable and/or temporary. Side effects can vary between patients and may depend on the dose taken, the titration (usage), other compounds in the medication and the mode of administration.

Some of the most common side effects include:

  • dry mouth
  • redness of the eyes
  • heightened appetite
  • reduction of alertness
  • increased heart rate
  • lowering of blood pressure
  • some dizziness.
Thankfully, there are ways to help reduce the likelihood or severity of these unwanted side effects.
  • Start with a low dose and monitor for adverse side effects. You can then speak to your doctor about adjusting your medication to balance optimum efficacy with limited side effects.
  • Speak to your doctor about trying an alternative product or mode of administration if the side effects prove to be unacceptable.
  • Side effects generally disappear with time and so it could be that simply waiting for them to pass is sufficient.

However, contact your doctor immediately if you develop a rash, hives, swelling or have trouble breathing as these may be the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Similarly, if you experience seizures or convulsions, call 000.

It is essential that you continually monitor your experience with plant based therapies throughout your treatment.

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Cost

The Australian Government does not subsidise the cost of plant based medication like medicinal cannabis products through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). As a result, plant based pain management treatments can be costly, both in terms of medical appointments and products.

Companies such as Cannatrek are working with legislators to improve the affordability of plant based therapy products. While this work is underway, Cannatrek has various initiatives that help reduce the cost of pain management treatments for patients, such as concessional pricing for eligible patients and efficacy trials. For more information on approximate pricing of using plant based therapies, please see our costs page.

Cannatrek Access

Cannatrek is here to support you in finding an alternative plant based treatment that suits you. Our online telehealth booking platform, Cannatrek Access, makes booking an appointment with a doctor experienced in prescribing plant based medicine easy.

If you’re interested in booking a telehealth consult, visit Cannatrek Access here.