Australian medicinal cannabis companies have yet another avenue to distribute their products, with news Cannabis Access Clinics has extended its clinic network by cutting the ribbon on a new venue in Western Australia and declaring it now serves “the largest patient group in Australia”.
The news comes hot on the heels of a rapidly changing landscape of medical cannabis, as well as industrial hemp worldwide. The US has just approved the legalisation of hemp while New Zealand has passed new laws to make medical cannabis more widely available in recent days.
Yesterday, Cannabis Access Clinics launched WA’s first medicinal cannabis clinic in Subiaco, focused on helping doctors and patients navigate the regulatory pathway for prescribing medicinal cannabis products.
Cannabis Access Clinics is a privately-owned organisation that employs doctors that maintain a “complete clinical independence from a prescribing perspective”, thereby ensuring the company remains entirely agnostic and independent when marketing products from some medical cannabis suppliers over others.
Medical director of Cannabis Access Clinics Dr Sanjay Nijhawan told Small Caps, “We are pleased to be able to extend our clinic network to Western Australia. The Western Australian Department of Health has worked hard to streamline regulations and make access to treatment easier for patients in need.”
“We believe medicinal cannabis needs to be considered as part of the treatment regime for many patients. It is often not a stand-alone treatment and it is not a silver-bullet solution, but alongside conventional therapies, it can help patients suffering from chronic pain, nausea, seizures, anxiety, sleep disorders, eating disorders and a range of other conditions,” he added.
The WA clinic adds to the company’s existing network of clinics already opened and serving patients with a range of ailments in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast. The company also runs a clinic in Auckland, New Zealand, giving it coverage in two of Oceania’s two largest markets.
Making a difference
One of its patients, 38-year-old Narina Carter from Coffs Harbour, said she was “ecstatic” after experiencing a “remarkable response” having undergone a short comprehensively monitored dose building period prior to commencing treatment.
“I am able to resume simple but vital components of my everyday lifestyle such as showering without being monitored, hold a decent conversation and perform a little cooking and cleaning around the house and for that my family and myself will be eternally grateful,” she said.
As a rule, Cannabis Access Clinics are staffed with general practitioners (GPs) and specialists that support patients who suffer from conditions for which there is evidence that medicinal cannabis therapies may be beneficial.
According to the company, it ensures that its clinics are consistently in compliance with Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) guidelines and confirmed patients undergo thorough consultation periods before treatment commences.
The clinic charges an “out-of-pocket fee” of $200 for an initial consultation, with additional costs levied thereafter for patients who continue with government application and treatment. Given current TGA guidelines, government approval typically takes around one week, although it can vary due to “case complexity”.
The future of healthcare
To underline its treatment credentials as opposed to being seen as a mere medical cannabis distributor, Cannabis Access Clinics said it offers patients clinic access and telehealth consultations conducted via the Internet, to allow patients located in remote areas access the service without leaving their homes.
As a forewarning to would-be patients, Cannabis Access Clinics says that it does not accept “walk-in appointments” and only considers patients who have exhausted all conventional therapies for their condition and are likely to be clinically assessed as suitable.
Some of the conditions being treated at the current time include chronic pain (including cancer pain), chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer (CINV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, anxiety, sleep disorders and PTSD.
Furthermore, Cannabis Access Clinics welcomes referrals from GPs or specialists who feel their patients may benefit from medical cannabis treatments and works with clinicians to provide ongoing monitoring and reporting on the patient’s progress.
The clinic also undertakes a range of research programs into effective dosages and outcomes of treatment with medicinal cannabis.
Cannabis Access Clinics says that it is seeing TGA approval rates increasing rapidly with the Number of SAS Category B approvals rising from 60 in January to 568 last month.
Cannabis Access Clinics general manager Ms Belen Gomez confirmed that Cannabis Access Clinics is seeing TGA approval time for patient applications “increasing drastically” and the company frequently receives “same-day approvals, sometimes within minutes”.
For more information you can visit the Cannabis Access Clinics website here.