This one-hour cannabis prescription service feels indecently hasty.
While it’s not our personal cup of tea, your Back Page scribe has nothing against cannabis, whether recreational or medicinal – if, indeed, there is really any genuine distinction between those two sorts of use.
As Dr Kees Nydam argues today, outside the strictly therapeutic use cases of MS, epilepsy and the nausea and wasting associated with chemo and AIDS, there’s more of a continuum than a categorical difference between medicinal and recreational use when it comes to things like anxiety, stress, insomnia and so on.
Chronic pain is another indication where prescription cannabis is seen as worth a try, even though the evidence is not exactly robust.
Medicinal cannabis in Australia seems to occupy a slightly shady regulatory landscape where scripts are given out by Not Your Usual GP in a fairly tick-a-box, few-questions-asked manner and fulfilled by Possibly Commercially Aligned suppliers. Sometimes it’s a one-stop shop that streamlines the prescriber and the supplier under one digital roof.
If Dr Nydam is correct and legal recreational cannabis is only a few years away, these suppliers of cannabis prescriptions and their dispensers had better make hay from their existing business model while the regulatory sun shines, before it’s all on for young and old (depending what policy settings eventuate).
One provider that is wasting no time whatsoever sent TMR an all-caps press release at the weekend (it really couldn’t wait) that shouted:
RAPID PROGRAM ALLOWS PATIENTS ACCESS TO MEDICINAL CANNABIS IN UNDER AN HOUR
The candidates for this exceptionally expedient turnaround, according to the press release, are people with chronic pain.
That’s right: chronic pain. The kind that doesn’t come as a complete surprise, nor present a life-or-death emergency requiring the administration of 80mg of sativa stat.
The customer, sorry, patient, just has to go to the website, click on its “Rapid Access Clinic” button and put in their details and the Rapid Access Program team will respond within 15 minutes.
“‘Quality care without the wait’ is how the new service is being positioned, with those patients in need of medicinal cannabis now able to undergo a nurse assessment, consult with a clinician and have a script issued in less than 60 minutes,” the release says.
We can’t tell from our preliminary poking about on the website what this super-efficient service costs, but we expect there must be some premium.
The script is then available from the company dispensary, which has “pick up and express delivery options available”.
So they’re not literally getting the weed to you within an hour. That’s an exaggeration that they, for some reason, thought would particularly appeal to a doctor magazine like TMR.
Also the service is available Monday to Friday, so if you’re caught short on a Saturday night you’re still going to have to call Kaidyn. You know, with the neck tatts and expensive taste in athleisure.
But it is another facet of the phenomenon that doctor-developer Josh Case calls “smellyhealth”, in which the boring, slow, rigorous routine of consultation, considered diagnosis, prescription and dispensing is conflated into a single-purpose, product-based digital shopfront with doctors as glorified cashiers.
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