Kingscliff Health is now offering a medicinal cannabis (MC) service by Dr Arrlann Christie, an affiliate of Cannabis Doctors Australia (CDA).
Which medical conditions can benefit from medicinal cannabis?
Anecdotally, there are many reports of symptomatic improvement with the use of medicinal cannabis, however, as research is limited, the therapeutic goods association (TGA) will only grant compassionate access to MC as a second line experimental treatment.
There are over 40 chronic conditions for which the TGA will grant approval for the use of MC where conventional treatment has failed or is contraindicated. Guidance with summarised evidence for some indications (e.g. anxiety, epilepsy, chronic pain, cancer pain, chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, palliative care, MS) can be found on the TGA website: tga.gov.au/medicinal-cannabis-guidance-documents.
Can I just book a consultation?
Unfortunately it’s not that simple. There are strict guidelines around the approval of medicinal cannabis, so our process is as follows:
Step 1 – Discuss with your usual GP or specialist
If you are considering medicinal cannabis as a treatment option, we recommended you first discuss this with your usual GP or specialist.
Step 2 – Referral from your usual GP or specialist to Dr Arrlann Christie at Kingscliff Health
Should you decide you would like to trial medicinal cannabis, you will need your GP or specialist to refer you to Dr Arrlann Christie at Kingscliff Health. The referral will need to include a health summary.
Step 3 – Register with CDA for an eligibility screening
Go to cannabisdoctorsaustralia.com.au and complete an online registration. A CDA consultant will subsequently call you to discuss your case and determine your eligibility.
Step 4 – Upload or email the 3 required documents to CDA
You will need to upload or email your referral, a health summary and signed consent form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Step 5 – Consultation
You will be contacted by Kingscliff Health to book a consultation with Dr Arrlann Christie.
Why do I need a referral from my usual GP or specialist?
This is a requirement of The Australian Government, Department of Health, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The referral from your regular GP or specialist informs the TGA of your chronic condition, previous medical history, medications you are currently taking, and tests and procedures you have had. All of this information assists in the TGA approval process.
How much do the appointments cost?
An initial consultation is approximately 30 minutes, and costs $200.00. If you have a current Australian Medicare Card you may be entitled to a rebate. Follow up consultations are $70, depending on the length of time required for the consultation.
If you are a DVA Gold Card holder, we can apply to DVA for full coverage of the consultation fees.
Will I get the script for medicinal cannabis at my initial consultation?
Unfortunately not. During your initial consultation your doctor will complete and submit all appropriate documentation to the TGA for approval. The approval process takes 1-2 weeks. Once approved, your prescription will be completed.
How much will the Medicinal Cannabis cost, and is it included in the Consultation Fee?
The cost of medicinal cannabis is not included in your consultation fee. It is around $4.00-$10.00 per day.
Where do I get the Medicinal Cannabis from?
The distribution of medicinal cannabis is also under strict guidelines. Your doctor will advise you which pharmacies can fill your prescription during your consultation.
Can I get my medicinal cannabis the day I get my prescription?
Unfortunately not. Pharmacies are not allowed to stock medicinal cannabis. They will process your prescription and contact you when it is available for pick up. This is usually within a one or two days after processing, and can only be completed once the TGA have approved your application.
I have already been prescribed medicinal cannabis from another doctor; can I just book in with one of your doctors for a new prescription?
Unfortunately not. The TGA currently only approves same product, same doctor, so you will still need to book an initial consultation, and bring all appropriate paperwork with you.
Where Can I get more information about Medical Cannabis?
More information about medicinal cannabis can be found on the TGA website at tga.gov.au/publication/guidance-use-medicinal-cannabis-australia-patient-information and Cannabis Doctors Australia’s website, cannabisdoctorsaustralia.com.au.