Pharmacist explains the first steps of accessing medicinal cannabis
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While medicinal cannabis has been on the table for quite some time, we know there are lingering questions about how it all works.
But not to fret, as LADbible exclusively sat down with Lisa Nguyen, the Founder and CEO of Astrid, Australia’s first female-led dispensary.
Astrid is all about creating a coherent pathway between practitioner, pharmacist and patient through cannabis therapy.
Since opening its first location on Chapel Street in Melbourne in early 2021, Astrid has grown into a thirty-strong team of pharmacists, nurses, technicians and assistants, who have all contributed to building a sanctuary of support and holistic remedies.
Two years on, Astrid continues to expand and thrive, opening their second dispensary in the idyllic coastal town of Byron Bay.
Lisa first joined the cannabis industry shortly after the Federal Government legalised the cultivation, production and distribution of medicinal cannabis.
However, in the early days trying to access the devil's oregano at a doctor's office was awkward as hell, Lisa describes.
“..It was rough. Going to a doctor to talk about cannabis was the last thing they wanted to hear. They literally thought I was a drug dealer,” she said.
But rest assured, the nation has since warmed to the idea.
According to data accumulated by the Federal Government in 2019, 11.9 per cent of Australians use medicinal cannabis.
Lisa recommends when seeking this treatment, the first step is to chat with your GP.
“The first thing I would do is speak to your GP, and your GP might say, ‘Yes it’s an option. I think I’ve heard about it; let me explore it.’ Or your GP might say, ‘You know what I haven’t really heard about it, but I’ll refer you to a specialised medical cannabis clinic,’” she said.
And to qualify, you have to be diagnosed with a ‘chronic condition’, which could include anxiety, chronic pain or insomnia and have exhausted ‘traditional medications in the past’.
But once you get a prescription, you’ll head to a nearby pharmacy and have your cannabis dispensed.
And there are many different options for consuming it.
“In Australia right now, patients can use medical cannabis orally. So it can be used in an oil form, and usually, that’s a little bottle with a syringe. The patient will drop the dose and use it by putting it under the tongue and having it orally,” she said.
Not to mention there’s capsules, vaporisers and wafers - yes, wafers - on offer too.
While this kind of treatment used to be costly, with Australians reportedly splurging $1,000 a month, Lisa reveals that patients typically spend around $300-400 now.
“Medical cannabis is a really great plant-based option, and if you’ve tried traditional pharmaceutical medicines and you know, it’s not working for you, or it’s not doing what it needs to do you, and you want a better quality of life, cannabis is an option,” she continued.
If you would like to learn more, head here.