Patient Assessment

Patients will present with a myriad of health issues. The aim is to identify the primary and secondary health issues which will benefit from lifestyle adjustments versus prescribed medical cannabis. In addition to the medical assessment, it is important to understand the patient’s base knowledge and expectations.

It is important to assess:
  • The patient’s primary source of information and their level of health literacy.
  • The patient’s level of medical cannabis knowledge. Does this patient need to be referred to a cannabinoid nurse for patient education prior to prescribing?
  • The patient’s goals and expectations of medical cannabis, are they realistic?
  • Is there a support system around the patient? Are their family, partner or friends in agreement with their decision?
  • Do they have the financial ability to afford this unsubsidized medication long term?
  • Do they understand the driving restrictions and lifestyle adjustments if they require THC or THC:CBD blends?
  • Are they interested in participating in observational or clinical research studies? Assess their level of knowledge about the pros and cons of participating.


Medical Assessment 

It is important to document in detail for medico legal protection for ‘unapproved’ medical cannabis products accessed via the Special Access Scheme or Authorised Provider pathways.

    • Identification of the primary symptom for which the medical cannabis can be prescribed

      • Location
      • Onset/cause
      • Quality 
      • Duration
      • Intensity
      • Aggravating or alleviating factors 
      • Other symptoms 
    • Prior treatments – pharmacological and reason for discontinuationPrior treatments - non-pharmacological and reason for discontinuation
    • Prior Treatments – non-pharmacological and reason for discontinuation 
    • Current treatments – pharmacological, dose, duration and effect
    • Current treatments - non-pharmacological, description, frequency and effect
    • Past medical History (contra indications for cannabinoid medication – Psychosis personal or familial, Schizophrenia, unstable heart disease)
    • Substance use – substance, duration, quantity and frequency of use
    • Prior use of medical cannabis (illicit or prescription) – mode of administration, amount/dose, duration and effect on mood, sleep, driving, cognitive function and quality of life.
    • Social History
    • Results of physical examination
    • List of other treating general practitioners and specialists and if they are aware of the request for medical cannabis treatment for a particular symptom or condition.
    • Note the patient expectations of outcomes from use of medical cannabis. List their functional goals and points discussed – Does the patient require referral to a Cannabis nurse for further information and education on the endocannabinoid system?
    • If assessed as a suitable patient for cannabinoid-based medications, note why alternative or conventional medicines or therapies are not suitable


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