BlogWhat to expect: your first medical cannabis consultation

What to expect: your first medical cannabis consultation

8 min read

Lucy MacKinnon

What to expect your first medical cannabis consultation

At Releaf, we’re on a mission to make accessing medical cannabis treatments as easy as possible for those that need them, and one of the ways we’re doing this is by breaking down barriers, answering FAQs, and debunking myths. So today, we’re discussing what to expect at your first medical cannabis consultation with Releaf. 

Contents

For some, the biggest barrier they face when discussing high quality medical cannabis care is a fear of the unknown, a fear of being stigmatised, or a fear of feeling flustered during their appointments.  

But, we’d like to calm these concerns, and let you know what you can expect from your first 30-minute consultation with our specialist GMC registered doctors, so you can make the most of your time with our compassionate consultants.

Before your first medical cannabis consultation

Starting a new journey in any aspect of your life can feel daunting, but when this journey relates to your health, the stakes are exponentially high. And so, we understand that concerns can run high too. 

But, have no fear, we’ve got you covered, here’s everything you need to know before your first medical cannabis consultation takes place: 

What does the doctor need to know about me?

Before you attend your first medical cannabis consultation at Releaf, our clinical team will have assessed your suitability for these treatment options. This is done using the information given in your NHS and private care medical records, and by reviewing the answers you’ve submitted on your health questionnaire. 

This information relates to your general health, your diagnosed medical conditions, any current medication usage, or any treatments (prescribed or holistic) that you have previously tried to manage your condition. 

Other aspects, such as information about how your symptoms currently affect your day-to-day life, and what your daily routine, lifestyle choices, experiences, and mental health or wellbeing are like, are also included.

Although we understand that answering this many personal questions may feel intrusive to some, we’d like to assure you this is not our intention. At Releaf, we tailor treatments to the individual, and treat our patients as such, and so, in order to do this, and to provide the best care to each patient, we need to know what’s unique to them, and their situation. 

Should I prepare anything before my first consultation?

As a general rule of thumb, although you will have answered these questions in your health questionnaire prior to your first appointment, it is always best to have a list of previous medications and treatment options you have tried to hand when going into your first consultation.

If you have been prescribed medical cannabis in the past from another medical cannabis clinic, or have been self-medicating using cannabis bought through the black market, also make a list of which strains, product formulations, and concentrations you have previously tried.

Include notes about what effects these options had, on your symptoms or lifestyle, and any adverse reactions that occurred. This may help when answering any follow-up questions our consultant may have about these treatments, and makes it easier to give your clinician the fullest picture possible so they can design your medical cannabis treatment plan. 

During your first medical cannabis consultation

If you’re all booked in for your first medical cannabis consultation, you may be wondering what this will look like, or how the appointment will take place. To help you feel more at ease, and to make the most out of your 30 minutes, here’s what you can expect during your first medical cannabis consultation at Releaf: 

How will the appointment take place?

Unlike many other healthcare providers, at Releaf we don’t book appointments to suit our schedule; we understand how hectic modern life can be. Instead, we fit these consultations around our patient's existing lifestyle and commitments, and allow them to book in with our expert consultants at a time and date that suits them. 

Initial consultations for medical cannabis treatments with Releaf doctors last around 30 minutes, and they take place virtually, using an online video-call service. This way there is no need to take time off work, travel outside of your area, or even leave your house, to attend your medical cannabis consultation. 

What kind of doctor will I see?

Under UK law, only doctors registered by the General Medical Council on the Specialist Register are permitted to issue prescriptions for cannabis-based medicinal products (CBMPs) to patients who have never received cannabis-based treatments before. Repeat prescriptions can then be issued by General Practitioners, or GMC registered doctors. 

At Releaf, when you book your first appointment, you will be matched with the most suitable doctor in our team, who will be the best consultant for you to see and to continue checking-in with. They will be GMC-registered, experienced in treating conditions like yours, and have real-world knowledge into how medical cannabis may be able to benefit your situation. 

All of our doctors have undergone medical cannabis training, have experience working in the NHS, and many have been prescribing cannabis-based products for a number of years following the change of law in 2018 - putting you in the best possible hands. 

What kind of questions will they ask?

Using the information you have already provided as a base, our doctors will discuss your diagnosis(es) and confirm the treatments or medications you have previously tried to little avail. 

From here, they will move on to how your current symptoms impact your day-to-day activities and quality of life, and how medical cannabis or cannabis-based treatments may be able to assist, or offer relief, in these areas. 

The medications you currently use, any allergies you suffer from, your current state of mental health, and aspects of your lifestyle, such as your type of employment and what your life at home looks like, will also be asked about during your initial consultation. 

This is simply to determine how these factors may be affected by medical cannabis use, and  to ensure any possible safeguarding concerns are addressed before treatment begins. 

Our doctors will ask for your insight, your thoughts, or concerns, and will be curious to hear about any previous experiences you have had with cannabis, if any, to use as a foundation when designing your treatment plan. 

If your consultant considers that medical cannabis may be able to benefit you, a prescription for cannabis based medicinal products (CBPMs) will be issued at the end of this consultation, which will then be reviewed by Releaf’s multidisciplinary team (MDT). 

After your first medical cannabis consultation

Once your initial appointment with a medical cannabis consultant has been completed, an MDT review takes place to ensure the treatment plan designed for you is appropriate, and you can then order your medication. Here’s what happens in those steps:

What happens during an MDT review?

At the end of every working day, our team of expert consultants, pharmacists, nurses, and support staff come together for a multidisciplinary team (MDT) review. Here, the team review the consultations that have taken place throughout the day, and discuss any new prescriptions or treatment plans that have been issued. 

Taking this collective approach allows each member of the MDT to use their unique skills and expertise, and give their insight or advice into how cannabis-based treatments can be best tailored to best suit each individual patient.  

After the daily MDT review, prescriptions are sent to patients, and they are invited to order their medication from Releaf’s pharmacy, to be delivered directly to their front door. 

How do I order my medical cannabis?

Releaf patients can order medical cannabis flower, or prescribed cannabis oil, in line with their prescription at the e-commerce store on Releaf’s patient platform. 

Depending on your condition and treatment plan, you may be offered a range of different product formulations or concentrations that our doctors feel may be suitable in managing your symptoms, and in these cases, you will be able to select which quantity of each product  you would like to order. 

Your digital order will then be sent to Releaf’s pharmacy along with a paper copy of your prescription. Once received, your medication will be dispensed and dispatched directly to you with a safe and secure, signed for, 48-hour delivery service.

Closing considerations

We know that stepping into something new can sometimes feel disorientating, but we hope that this quick guide has set your mind to rest, and you are looking forward to attending, or booking, your first medical cannabis consultation with Releaf. 

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your health and wellness journey. 

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Authors

With five years of journalism and healthcare content creation under her belt, Lucy strives to improve medical cannabis awareness and access in the UK by producing high quality, credible content.

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Further reading

Trust your gut: IBS and medical cannabis

Cannabis has been used as a therapeutic for thousands of years, with evidence of its use in the treatment of gastrointestinal issues dating back centuries. Anecdotal evidence suggests that medical cannabis may be useful in the treatment of Intestinal Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and a growing body of clinical and observational evidence appears to support this potential.

Emily Ledger