Managing medicinal cannabis

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Managing Medicinal Cannabis

Receiving your prescribed medicinal cannabis after completing the extensive application process can feel like the end of your journey. However, this is not the case, as it is essential to continually monitor your experience with medicinal cannabis 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.

Common Problems

Efficacy

Occasionally, it may appear that your medicinal cannabis product is not working or is failing to provide the relief you were hoping for. This may be due to incorrect dose, or incompatible product. Speak to your doctor about your concerns, as there are many factors that come into play when assessing the effectiveness of medicinal cannabis.

  1. Try a different titration

    Titration is essentially the strength and composition of a product. In this case it is the strength of CBD and/or THC in a medicinal cannabis 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

    As a whole plant medication, medicinal cannabis contains a variety of compounds other than CBD and THC. 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 CBD/THC level constant and it may be that you would find greater effectiveness from a different cannabinoid formulation. Speak to your doctor about trying a different product to find the one most suitable.

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, 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 to continually monitor your experience with medicinal cannabis throughout your treatment

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Cost

The Australian Government does not subsidise the cost of medicinal cannabis products through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). As a result, medicinal cannabis treatment can be costly, both in terms of medical appointments and products. Companies such as Cannatrek are working with legislators to improve the affordability of medicinal cannabis products. However, in the meantime, Cannatrek has implemented various initiatives to reduce the cost of medicinal cannabis for patients, such as concessional pricing for eligible patients, and efficacy trials . For more information on pricing, please see our costs page

Cannatrek Access

Cannatrek is here to support medicinal cannabis patients throughout their journey. Our telehealth booking platform, Cannatrek Access, makes booking an appointment with a doctor experienced in prescribing medicinal cannabis easy.