Since endocannabinoid receptors can be found in almost every organ in the body, it shouldn’t be hard to understand why cannabis-based medicines may help with a wide range of conditions. Unfortunately, the lack of clinical trials in this area means that there is limited scientific evidence on its use in a number of conditions. Despite this, cannabis has been used as a medicine for more than 5000 years and its versatility and safety make it a great alternative for patients who haven’t responded to pharmaceutical medication.

Despite the lack of clinical trials, there is sufficient evidence for medical cannabis to be prescribed as a treatment for chronic pain. Observational real world evidence is showing that medical cannabis is the safest and most effective treatment for chronic pain management since it also helps with associated symptoms such as anxiety, depression and insomnia without the side effects experienced with most pharmaceutical medication.

At The Pain Clinic, we offer evidence-based medical advice on using cannabis as medicine and can guide patients on relieving their symptoms and improving their quality of life. Before requesting a medical consultation, patients are advised to check if they are eligible for medical cannabis.

During the 1-hour initial assessment, the patient’s history is explored in detail and the medications used in the past are noted. A treatment agreement is signed between the patient and the doctor where the patient agrees to use the medicine responsibly. The doctor then applies to the Superintendent of Public Health for the patient to start using medical cannabis. This application takes around 2-3 weeks to be approved, following which another appointment is scheduled where the doctor explains how the medicine is administered and the first prescription is issued.

The first application is approved for 30 days and the following applications are approved for 6 months. A follow-up is therefore necessary after 30days and every 6 months. During the follow-up appointment the doctor will renew the necessary permits for the patient to continue using medical cannabis. A control card for narcotic and psychotropic drugs will also be necessary and the doctor will advise how to apply for this.

Medical cannabis is available as dried flower or as oil, both of which can be purchased from a licensed pharmacy with a prescription, control card and permit from the Superintendent of Public Health.

Vaporisation of the dried flower is the quickest and most effective route for delivering medical cannabis. A controlled dose of 0.1-0.2g of ground medical cannabis flower is inserted into the heating chamber of a herb vaporizer, heated to 180-200degrees Celsius and inhaled until symptoms are relieved. Vaporisation can relieve symptoms within seconds and this relief is maintained for 4-6hours.

Alternatively, medical cannabis can be ingested as oil which is placed under the tongue. This method of delivery produces an effect after 30-60minutes and the therapeutic effect may last up to 8hours.

If you suffer from a chronic condition and have not obtained relief from your symptoms despite the medication that was prescribed, then medical cannabis can be explored as an alternative to pharmaceutical medication. Kindly complete this online questionnaire and a member of our team will contact you within 3-4 working days to advise you on how to set up an appointment.