Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Most frequent medical cannabis questions and answers
We conduct online video consultations through an application called Coviu. Here’s how to make the most of it:
- Log onto Coviu 10-15 minutes early
- Ask for help during your consultation if you need it
- Feel free to call us days before the appointment to practice using Coviu
Not all patients or conditions are suitable for medical cannabis therapies. According to TGA guidelines, there must be some evidence that medicinal cannabis treatment can be applied to your condition and that you have exhausted conventional therapies. However, please still call us on 1300 991 477 to discuss your case further.
Rural patients may be eligible for Medicare rebates.
DVA Card Holders may be eligible for medication and consultation rebates by the DVA. Patients must present a letter of support from their pain specialists. This is typically for chronic pain or chronic pain and associated conditions (eg. PTSD). Each case is assessed and funded by the DVA based on its own merit. To find out more: 1300 991 477.
Medication is not generally covered by insurance as it is not on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. But we recommend consulting your private insurer to check your individual policy.
There are different kinds of medicinal cannabis therapies, and some may not be suitable for your case. If any of the following apply to you, please discuss with your CA Clinics doctor:
- Allergic to any ingredient used in cannabinoid product
- Have unstable cardio-pulmonary disease or cardiovascular disease
- Have previous psychotic or concurrent active mood disorder
- Have severe anxiety
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
Relative contraindications: These conditions may not prevent prescribing medicinal cannabis, though should also be considered by the medical practitioner.
- Severe liver or renal disease.
- Drug, alcohol or nicotine dependence
- Paediatric and elderly patients
- Individuals with a past medical or family history of schizophrenia
Legality and quality
Medications prescribed by our doctors are legal in Australia and need to contain what they say on the label, unlike illegal counterparts which may not contain the ingredients they claim. Legal medicinal cannabis has to meet the quality assurance standards mandated by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration).
Under the Therapeutic Goods Order No. 93, all cannabis-derived ingredients used to make medicinal cannabis products are tested for potency, microbiological contamination, toxins that could come from the plant and any residual pesticides. They must also come from a 100% natural source. Any other products that are sold in Australia (usually illegally) do not have to be tested and there is no way to know if it is safe to use.
Prescribing cannabis correctly means knowing the exact concentration of active ingredients in a product. This means doctors can monitor reactions and alter doses with more precision, limiting risks.
All products prescribed by our doctors have to be tested with results shown to the TGA before they can be used to treat Australian patients.
Yes. Post-approval consultations are important for discussing your therapy plan and treatment. To find out more, please call us at 1300 991 477.
Once the CA Clinics team has received your prescription from our doctors, we proceed to complete the TGA application form known as a SAS-B. We include details such as the condition being treated, previous medications tried and the name of the treating doctor.
Everyone is different, but the known possible side-effects from prescribed medicinal cannabis treatments include fatigue and sedation, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, fever, decreased or increased appetite, dry mouth, and diarrhoea. THC-containing compounds are also known to potentially cause the psychotropic effects such as feeling ‘high’.
This is a guideline only, please discuss with your doctor about your personal situation and state laws.
Patients who are being treated with medicinal cannabis therapies that contain the cannabinoid THC should not drive or operate machinery while being treated due to the risk of their cognitive and motor skills being impaired.
All states in Australia have Mobile Drug Testing (MDT). The NSW Centre for Road Safety website states THC can typically be detected in saliva by an MDT stick for up to 12 hours after use. This could vary for each patient depending on the dose being administered. Drivers will be penalised if they test positive for THC at a roadside MDT.
CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, but can still cause symptoms which may impair a driver such as drowsiness, fatigue and lowered blood pressure. There is a higher risk of these symptoms when CBD is taken with other medications or at high doses. Patients treated with CBD oil are advised to check with their state government’s health guidelines and doctors about their ability to drive. Certain CBD medications may also contain traces of THC.
CA Clinics estimate the current approval timeline to be approximately 1-2 days, but allow up to 5 days. Timelines vary by state and by the complexity of the condition being applied for.
No. Medicinal Cannabis is not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
To be considered for inclusion on to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), the product must first be registered and approved for use by the TGA. To get approval by the TGA, a company has to submit many clinical trials that take years to complete. Some clinical trials for medicinal cannabis products are underway.
A full list of our pricing is found on the Services Price List here.
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Regulatory compliance and processing fee: A one off fee of $250 is charged to cover preparation, documentation and submission of any regulatory requirements including items such as renewal of approvals.
We respect that your time is valuable and we appreciate that you understand ours is too. Any cancellations that occurs 48 hours or more before appointments can re-book at no additional cost. Cancellations made less than 48 hours before the appointment may result in a cancellation fee.
*Medicare rebates apply to Rural patients. Please call 1300 991 477 to enquire.
Medical cannabis therapies require TGA approval in Australia. Conditions that may be approved by the TGA include:
- Chronic non-cancer pain
- Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting
- Multiple sclerosis
- Palliative Care
The TGA requires that there is some evidence that the recommended treatment will have a therapeutic impact on your condition and that conventional treatments have been tried and have failed to manage conditions and symptoms.
If you have other conditions, feel free to call us at 1300 991 466 to discuss.