Well to put it short, no; they’re very different. Illegal cannabis, no matter where it’s obtained from, is distributed from undetermined sources and could contain many harmful things such as mould, bacteria and contaminants.

Hence, using illegal cannabis from unidentified and unregulated sources can cause you more harm than good. Illegal cannabis is also extremely inconsistent and unreliable, and you cannot be sure of what you’re putting into your body as there’s zero tests and regulations.

Illegal cannabis can give cannabis a bad name in general:

  • Multi-level marketing schemes
  • ‘watered-down’ products
  • Less concentrated
  • Harmful contaminants
  • Incorrect labeling
  • Incorrect advice given
  • Patients mixing medications
  • Terminally ill patients treating themselves with cannabis and dying when they should be going to a registered-medical professional to receive an array of proven treatments

People buying from the black market are subject to bad experiences and they may attribute side effects or lack of product efficacy to cannabis, but it could be a watered-down product, for example.

One of the issues that we hear of regularly is the allergy to MCT oil or Coconut Oil. Often people will attribute their allergies to the cannabinoid (cannabis compounds) when in fact they are allergic to the carrier oil.

It’s important to educate and treat the population professionally in order to effect a positive change in the cannabis market in Australia.   Cannabis is a safe natural medicine as long as some simple checks and balances are put in place to protect the patients, medical professionals and the plant itself. If these checks and balances are put into place when we educate the masses, we can affect the deregulation of cannabis in general.

The benefits of consulting with a cannabis clinic

There is some administrative work involved in prescribing medical cannabis. The Doctor (if applying via the Special Access Scheme) will need to submit an application to the TGA, communicate to the patients when they have been approved, ensure they track all patient clinical notes and cases, as well as undertake admin work outside of the consultation. These are reasons why patient’s may find that consultation fees with Doctor’s may be higher than when they consult with their regular GP.

Here’s some reasons why your Doctor may not be able to assist patients with prescribing medicinal marijuana:

  • There is a wide range of medicinal cannabis products in the Australian market and the Doctor is not familiar with these products.
  • Doctors may not be trained in the science of cannabis.
  • They do not understand how to dose and prescribe.
  • They do not know what pharmacies dispense medical cannabis. And they don’t know how to advise the pharmacy on supply.

A cannabis doctor has been trained in cannabis medicine and has a broader understanding of the barriers that Doctor’s face when prescribing medicinal cannabis. In your consultation you may be provided with:

  • Medical condition discussion
  • Treatment history review
  • Current medicines review
  • Product selection
  • TGA application
  • Information/education
  • Product use and dosing information

Some Doctors in Australia are not supportive and are reluctant to prescribe medical cannabis to their patients due to the challenges they face when prescribing and sometimes the stigma that surrounds the medicine.

In order to book a consult at a medical marijuana clinic, you may need a referral, health summary  and a consent form from your GP. Please note that this will vary depending on what cannabis clinic you choose to consult with and/or the treating practitioner.

What you can do to help to change the legislation

Any Australian-registered medical practitioner can apply to prescribe medical marijuana (dentists included). We suggest that all doctors undertake a short RACGP CPD accredited cannabis course to up skill.

If you’re a pharmacist and are interested in dispensing medical cannabis please register on our main page on CanView here.

CanView does not endorse the use of Medicinal Cannabis without lawful prescription. Just like any Medicine, Medicinal Cannabis may have both positive and negative side effects on the user, and should only be prescribed to patients by a Health Professional with the authority and expertise to do so. The information provided by CanView is for informational and educational purposes, and is of a general nature. If you are interested in accessing Medicinal Cannabis please talk to your doctor and request a referral to a Medicinal Cannabis clinic. 

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