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How to choose a medical cannabis pharmacy: step-by-step

Cannabis patients can fulfil their prescription through any dispensing pharmacy. So how does it work?

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How to choose a medical cannabis pharmacy: step-by-step

As a medical cannabis patient you have the right to fulfil your prescription through any pharmacy which is dispensing cannabis products in the UK. Here’s how it works. 

So you’ve chosen a clinic, completed an eligibility assessment and had an initial consultation. What happens now?

Once your doctor has assessed whether cannabis is the right option for you, and written a prescription, it will need to be processed by an appropriate pharmacy. 

However, patients do not have to use the pharmacy which is recommended by their clinic or doctor. 

You can ask for a copy and take it to any pharmacy which is dispensing medical cannabis products in the UK. 

We spoke to Caroline Harvey, a pharmacist of over 35 years and the co-founder of Botanical Health Dispensary, one of the first fully independent cannabis pharmacies in the UK. She explained how the process works.

READ MORE: How to access a medical cannabis prescription in the UK

How it works: step-by-step

Step 1: Get a prescription from your specialist doctor

In the UK there is now a range of medical cannabis clinics and GMC specialist doctors who can prescribe this treatment to you. If your doctor is happy that you are suitable for treatment, they will write you a private prescription.

They may prescribe flower or oil, but if you have not had cannabis before, they often start with an oil.

Step 2: Choose your pharmacy and order your prescription

You can find a list of all dispensing pharmacies in the UK here 

Either you or your doctor can email a copy of the prescription to the pharmacy to start the process (the team will give you a secure email address to use). This gives them a head start in ordering what you need and means they have more time to send a redacted copy to suppliers or source a clinical need letter, if necessary.

In Harvey’s case, the team at Botanical Health and allied pharmacy, Leyes Lane, will at this point check the availability, delivery dates and prices of products, and contact you to check you are happy to go ahead.

Step 3: Send your prescription

Next you, the doctor, or the clinic must send your original prescription to the pharmacy by post. It is recommended you send this via recorded delivery. They will let you know when it has been received and contact you to confirm all the details, including delivery address.  The medication cannot legally be released to you until the pharmacy have received it.

Step 4: Pay for your prescription

Once the pharmacy team receives your original prescription in the post, they will process the prescription and contact you to arrange payment and delivery.

Step 5: Receive your medication in the post 

The pharmacy will then send your medication to you via Special Delivery. The prescription must be signed for by an adult on delivery, so a delivery date will be agreed with you before sending. They will post your payment receipt with your medication.

If you have any issues with your prescription you can contact the pharmacy directly. 

For more information on Botanical Health Dispensary visit www.botanicalhealthdispensary.co.uk or contact Leyes Lane Pharmacy on 01926 859232.

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Sarah Sinclair is a respected cannabis journalist writing on subjects related to science, medicine, research, health and wellness. She is managing editor of Cannabis Health, the UK’s leading title covering medical cannabis and CBD, and sister title and Psychedelic Health. Sarah has an NCTJ journalism qualification and an MA in Journalism from the University of Sunderland. Sarah has over six years experience working on newspapers, magazines and digital-first titles, the last two of which have been in the cannabis sector. She has also completed training through the Medical Cannabis Clinicians Society securing a certificate in Medical Cannabis Explained. She is a member of PLEA’s (Patient-Led Engagement for Access) advisory board, has hosted several webinars on cannabis and women's health and has moderated at industry events such as Cannabis Europa. Sarah Sinclair is the editor of Cannabis Health. Got a story? Email sarah@prohibitionpartners.com / Follow us on Twitter: @CannabisHNews / Instagram: @cannabishealthmag

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