How to become a medical cannabis patient?

The prescription process for medical cannabis is slightly different from what you may be used to with other medication, but our expert medical cannabis consultants are on hand to offer help and advice.

Whether you suffer from chronic pain, anxiety or other conditions such as Crohn’s disease, you’ll speak to one of our specialists who will talk you through the process. After that, your medical cannabis will be delivered to your front door, whether in the form of flower, oil or capsule.

Mamedica founder Jon Robson and two of Mamedica’s expert consultants explain how it all works.

How do you start the process?

Patients can either self-refer via our eligibility form on our website or they can request their GP or private doctor to refer them, again via our website.

Robson says, ‘When patients complete our online eligibility questionnaire, we collect quite an in-depth amount of information within the onboarding process. This enables us to identify what treatment might work, before a patient has a consultation with their specialist (for instance, pain or psychiatry.)’

What do you have to do to get a prescription?

To get a prescription, you have to meet the legislative criteria set out by the British Government, explains Dr Farrah Ayob, a pain specialist and one of Mamedica’s consultants.

‘You have to have tried at least two different treatments for your condition,’ Dr Ayob says. ‘Then you will need to ensure we can access your medical records, to confirm your condition and previous medications, to qualify for a consultation with myself or any of the doctors that are licensed to prescribe. We’ll discuss your case, and make sure it’s safe to prescribe to you.’

We take care of everything in house, from the moment the prescription is written to the point where it’s delivered to your door.

Who are the doctors who prescribe medical cannabis?

The doctors who prescribe medical cannabis are specialists, experts in fields ranging from pain to neurology to cancer, explains Mamedica founder Jon Robson.

Robson says, ‘Many of our consultants have been prescribing medical cannabis in the UK for anywhere between six months to two years.’

‘A lot of the feedback we’re hearing from prescribers is that they’re getting tremendous job satisfaction from patients coming back and actually saying, this is really helping me.’

What does the consultation involve?

The consultation will establish whether you are an experienced or inexperienced medical cannabis user, says consultant Dr Neel Umapathy.

The consultant will also discuss your conditions and your medical history, Dr Umapathy explains.

Dr Umapathy says, ‘The consultation takes into account your medical history, the indication for cannabis and whether there are any contraindications – and also issues such as side effects.’

Where do you go to get your cannabis?

Medical cannabis is delivered directly to your door. Unlike other prescriptions, you don’t have to go and collect it, explains Mamedica’s Jon Robson.

Robson says, ‘We take care of everything in house, from the moment the prescription is written to the point where it’s delivered to your door. All prescriptions are sent directly to our internal pharmacy and delivered on a next-day basis to the patient’s home address.’

What form does it arrive in?

There are various forms of medical cannabis, including flower which can be vaped, or oil which can be consumed sublingually (under the tongue), says Robson.

‘It’s not a one-size-fits-all,’ says Robson, ‘There are a number of different delivery mechanisms for these cannabis-based prescription medicines. It’s down to what the condition is, and what the consultant thinks will help.’

What happens next?

After the initial consultation, Mamedica will get in touch to ask how the medical cannabis is working, says Dr Neel Umapathy.

Dr Umapathy says, ‘Very few patients don’t get any benefit. If it doesn’t work, we’ll try a different combination until we get one that works.’

Should I take my prescription at a certain time of day?

The time of day you’re taking your prescription will very much depend on the nature of your condition, the method of consumption and even what strain you’ve been prescribed.

If your medical cannabis has been prescribed to treat chronic pain, for example, you may be directed to take your first dose when you wake up so that you can spend as much of the day pain free as possible, and then perhaps before bed so that you are able to spend the night in comfort as well.

If your medical cannabis prescription is tailored towards acute anxiety or panic attacks, for example, you may be directed to take a dose of medical cannabis as and when you feel an attack is imminent or occurring.

Given that cannabis flower acts faster than oil, this will also factor into when you should take your prescription. Likewise, you may be advised to take different strains at different times of the day; the sativa strain – being more stimulating and active – might be more suited to morning and daytime use, while the indica strain – having a more sedative, relaxing effect – may be better suited to night time use.

Above all, you should take your prescription as directed by our team of expert consultants, who will assess your condition and specific circumstances before determining the best prescription for you.

From onboarding a patient to prescribing their first dosage, a huge amount of patient data is collected to ensure we get their medication right.

How should I consume my first dose of medical cannabis?

Again, the guiding principle here is to follow the prescription given by our expert consultants, which will have been tailored specifically to you and your needs in terms of size and frequency of dosage, method of administration and strain of cannabis.

That said, the approach we take with new patients is a monitored course of treatment that starts with very low doses, gradually increasing according to the individual patient’s tolerance and benefit.

“When it comes to THC-containing medicines, these are best used very cautiously, using a ‘Start Low, Go Slow’ approach,” says our consultant psychiatrist Dr David Howells. “That way, we gradually reach the ‘Minimum Effective Dose’ for symptom control, with minimal side effects. Each patient has a unique ‘Endo-Cannabinoid System’, and we’re always bearing that in mind when we prescribe treatment.”

As always, the specific needs of each patient are at the core of every treatment plan. “We have an initial consultation and we collect a lot of information,” says Jon Robson. “From onboarding a patient to prescribing their first dosage, a huge amount of patient data is collected to ensure we get their medication right. Within our eligibility / onboarding process, we take the time to understand an individual’s experience with cannabis.

“For those that are experienced, it’s important for us to learn what they are currently using from a THC and CBD ratio perspective. This enables us to then offer a regulated alternative that can provide the desired relief for their ailment. This information is then processed through our system to provide treatment suggestions based on the information collected. It’s all about tailor making the treatment to the patient”