Medical Cannabis Frequently Asked Questions
- Referral Process
- Appointments and Prescriptions
- General Questions
How do I get a repeat of my medicines?
To request a repeat of your prescription please use your personal Sapphire Patient Portal link. Your personal link can be found on the email from us inviting you to book an appointment. Please do this at least one week before running out to enable us to send your paper prescription to your nominated pharmacy. If you also include how much of your medicine you are taking while in the titration period, we can ensure we request adequate quantities to be resupplied. Add text to the free text box on requesting your medicine if there is an issue with the supply.
Please note, most oils come in thick amber bottles. It can be difficult to know when the oil is running low, if you peal back the label either side of the bottle, it will allow you to check the level of oil remaining. Most oils come in 10ml and 30ml bottles.
Please be aware that you must have a regular review with your clinician to continue treatment and to request changes to the treatment plan you must book in to see your clinician.
How long will medical cannabis take to work?
For people that have never tried cannabis oils, which is our 1st line treatment in most cases, it can take a few months for cannabis to work.
Cannabis is natures dimmer switch; it can turn down the intensity of symptoms. For some patients it can take a few months to slowly increase to the right dose for them. In some patients the improvement may be gradual, and improvement might be seen in an unexpected way.
Exactly how people respond varies from person to person and cannabis doesn’t work for everyone. At Sapphire, we support you along the whole process to find a regiment that works for you.
Is medical cannabis addictive and does it cause a withdrawal reaction?
The levels of THC used to treat medical illness is much lower than used recreationally and hence may have a much lower potential for causing addiction or withdrawal reactions. Our clinicians work closely with patients to monitor closely for addiction and support you with the most appropriate regimen for your symptoms.
Recreational use of cannabis has high levels of a chemical known as THC. THC at high levels is known to have a small risk of addiction but is much lower than addictive medicines such as groups known as opiates and benzodiazepines. Again, recreational use of cannabis does have the risk of a withdrawal reaction due to high levels of THC.
How do I become a patient?
You can complete our assisted referral form – available here.
As well as this, your healthcare professional can refer you to us by completing this form.
To help our specialists make a full assessment about your condition, we require information from your GP and/or specialists you may have seen already. If you’re joining us from another medical cannabis clinic, we ask you to provide us with the clinic letters they have given you.
There is some administrative check we require, such as photographic ID (e.g. driver’s license or passport) and signed treatment agreements which can all be done electronically.
How do I take oils as prescribed?
Most oils come with an oral syringe. Oral syringes are marked to enable accurate measurement of the dose prescribed. 1ml syringes are marked in steps of 0.1ml. These oral syringes may be washed in warm soapy water then rinsed to reuse them. The bottles come with instructions, contained in the letter sent to you by your doctor.
How long will it take to see a doctor and be supplied the medicines?
On receiving a referral the clinical team review the information given and at times required further information to be gathered from you, the GP or other specialists. Once the referral has been accepted by one of our specialists we arrange a time that is convenient for your appointment.
Once seen by the relevant consultant, your case is presented to our multi-disciplinary team, typically held on a weekly basis. If appropriate, and treatment is authorised, the prescription is sent by post to your nominated pharmacy to be dispensed.
We strive to book patients in as swiftly as possible, however, at time there are unavoidable delays as mentioned above.
How will my data and the outcomes of treatment help others in the future?
All patients will be monitored for both benefits and adverse events through routine clinical appointment and collection at home. Sapphire Medical Clinics has set up UK Medical Cannabis Registry, the only national registry on medical cannabis prescribing in this country. This is our commitment to providing a gold-standard of clinical practice with the highest consideration of patient care and will contribute to the growing evidence on medical cannabis prescribing.
How does the medical cannabis you are able to prescribe differ from the CBD oil I am able to buy on the high street?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main compounds derived from the cannabis plant and is used for its medicinal properties as part of medicinal cannabis preparations. Oil-based CBD products are also available over the counter as wellness products. CBD oils used as part of a therapeutic regimen typically have higher concentrations than those available on the high street. CBD oil available on the high street is classified as a novel food and therefore does not have to meet the same stringent regulations regarding its manufacture as medicinal preparations.
A study performed by the Centre of Medicinal Cannabis of 29 widely available CBD products found that only 11 had CBD content within 10% of that advertised on the bottle. In addition, 16 products had measurable levels of controlled substances such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Is Medical Cannabis legal?
Prior to 1st November 2018 medical cannabis was categorised by the Home Office as a schedule 1 drug. Based on the evidence to support its use as a medicine by the Chief Medical Officer it was reclassified to permit its prescribing as a controlled drug. This was accompanied by ‘best practice’ criteria from the Government, NHS England and the General Medical Council (GMC). As such medical cannabis must be prescribed by specialists on the GMC register on a ‘named patient’ basis within the area of their expertise, agreed upon by a multidisciplinary team and adhering to all existing protocols for controlled drugs. Sapphire Medical Clinics adhere to all these criteria.
Are my consultations at Sapphire Medical Clinics covered by health insurance?
We encourage patients to discuss consultation and prescription fees with their individual provider.
Are there any side effects with this medication?
Some patients experience side effects with these medicines. Some are listed below. Most people who experience side-effects find they are short lived. We support our patients though these issues and adjust treats where needed. Few of our patients experience a ‘high’ or effects sought by recreational users, these effects are not a target of medical use of cannabis.
- Dry Mouth
- Effects on thinking
- Appetite Stimulation
- Blurred Vision
- Low blood pressure
- Problems with balance
- Fast heart rate
*these lists are not exhaustive. Check the leaflet that comes with your medicines or speak to your clinician if you are worried about a side-effect.