Industry leaders fear a controversial new service allowing Australian patients to order low-dose CBD online could encourage those with serious medical conditions to ditch their GP in a bid to access medicinal cannabis in under 10 minutes.
Senior figures also believe the service could breach TGA rules on cannabis advertising and risks damaging the industry’s already-fragile reputation.
The concern surrounds the launch by CDA Clinics of a ‘digital wellness hub’ called CDA Express which enables patients to order low-dose CBD and wellness products online.
After a seven-minute virtual ‘consult’ to check eligibility, treatments from a range of brands appear for purchase on the site.
Patients are required to provide their Medicare number and GP details and give permission for CDA Clinics to send an advisory letter to their GP informing them they are planning to access the treatment online.
A patient who has used CDA Express described the process: “I didn’t speak to a doctor. The form asked basic questions to clarify my identity and medical reasons for seeking CBD. I could choose a reason from a list in a drop-down box… I was not asked about the nature of my condition.”
They added: “It was up to me to compare the products ranging in price from A$49 to $435 and in CBD concentrations from 25 to 240 mg/mL. There were no alternative products offered – it seemed more like a shopping experience than a medical consultation.”