To obtain medicinal cannabis in Brisbane and across Queensland, patients need to talk to their doctor or physician who is currently treating you to find out if using it as an adjunct treatment would help improve your condition. Adjunct treatments are treatments you use with your primary treatment.
If after proper assessment, your doctor is certain the use of the cannabis would be effective and not harmful in treating your condition, then the Department of Queensland Health can be contacted to apply for your approval to prescribe.
While you’re applying to get approval, your doctor will also have to apply for the Therapeutic Goods Administration (also known as the TGA) for the approval to allow the supply of the cannabis.
Once the approvals are granted, your doctor then gets a licensed pharmacy to dispense the medical cannabis and CBD product for you.
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There are 3 basic ways to access medicinal cannabis:
Single-Patient Prescriber Pathway
Your doctor or physician applies for approval to prescribe medicinal cannabis to you specifically. It is basically the method explained above.
Patient-Class Prescriber Pathway
Specialist doctors or physicians can prescribe specific dosages of the medicinal cannabis to treat groups of patients with similar conditions or symptoms.
Queensland Current Clinical Trials
Patients are prescribed with the medicinal cannabis if they meet the criteria of the Queensland Clinical Trial.
The Queensland Clinical Trial are often organised by pharmaceutical companies to discover how their products affect the patients.
These trials are sometimes funded by the government. There is an entry criteria set for these trials and they use very strict clinical protocols. The thoroughness of these clinical trials ensure the usefulness and accuracy of the results.
Applying for Clinical Trials
There are a couple of ways a patient can be recruited for clinical trials. Recruitment is majorly sought through the suffering of certain conditions. i.e. a condition or symptoms that can be aided by medicinal cannabis is used, and the participants of that trial will be the people that have the condition picked or similar symptoms.
To apply for these trials, you can talk to your doctor or physician to know if there are any available trials for your condition.
Conditions that might require the use of Medicinal Cannabis
In order to apply for medicinal cannabis, your doctor or physician will need to supply adequate scientific evidence to show that your condition can be treated and helped with its use.
In Queensland there are no laws to limit the conditions or symptoms that are eligible for the application of the drug by your doctor. There is no right or wrong condition for the use of medicinal cannabis, but a doctor requires solid evidence that it can be used to aid.
There are a number symptoms that can be aided by the use of medicinal cannabis, but one can’t fully know all the symptoms or conditions as more researches are being conducted every day by scientists.
Here a few symptoms that can be aided:
- Palliative care which entails vomiting pains, appetite loss and nausea.
- Nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy.
- Severe muscular spasms.
- Multiple sclerosis and other symptoms.
- Severe seizures that are induced by some form of epilepsy.
- Treatment of chronic pain that is not associated with cancer.
Two things you should NOT do when considering using medicinal cannabis as treatment are:
- Consider the treatment as an alternative treatment for cancer.
- Delay ongoing standard cancer treatments and using medicinal cannabis as its alternative.
Costs of Medicinal Cannabis
Medical cannabis is not on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) in Queensland, so if patients need to purchase it, they would need to personally pay the costs up front with no current reimbursement scheme. The price is dependent on the following factors;
- The product itself
- Customs fees
- Shipping expenses
- Dispensing fees, charged by the dispensing pharmacy.
The Queensland government is not in charge of regulating prices for the goods that are being supplied and there is no allocated government subsidy for the cost of the medicinal cannabis used for individual treatments.
Delivery of the Medicinal Cannabis
For patients in rural areas, accessing the medicinal cannabis will be through your doctor or specialist. Using a telehealth service, you may be able to access specialist consultations. But generally, your doctor will prescribe medicinal cannabis in consultation with a specialist. Your doctor arranges for a pharmacy to be your dispensary unit but if there isn’t one available in your area, your doctor assumes this row.
Doctor’s Legal Obligations
The two major conditions in Queensland for the approval of medicinal cannabis and CBD Oil products for doctors are:
- Doctors should report any negative events or reactions, serious adverse reactions and unexpected reactions to Queensland health and the TGA.
- Doctors must provide a written report to Queensland health which encompasses the doctors’ opinions of their various patients’ responses, the frequency of their usage and the reason for the discontinuation of drug usage if it happens.
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