June 1, 2020
We recently got in contact with Green Dispensary Compounding, a compounding pharmacy in Adelaide. Green Dispensary is one of the first of its kind in Australia, offering medical cannabis via the extemporaneous compounding pathway.
Can you give us a brief history about Green Dispensary?
Green Dispensary is a South Australian group of pharmacies originating in the 1980’s when the demand for natural and nutritional products first started to gain momentum.
The first Green Dispensary store opened in Stirling in the Adelaide Hills with a format based on offering consumers both pharmaceutical and evidence-supported natural and nutritional products along with professional advice. Pharmacists undertook additional industry training in nutritional and lifestyle medicine and expanded the business format to further locations in Erindale, Blackwood, and a compounding pharmacy in St Peters.
The compounding pharmacy fulfilled another arm of the business which enabled the personal preparation of medicines, nutritional supplements and other therapeutic molecules for the specific use in patients for whom commercial pharmaceutical medicines were unsuitable.
The recently established and upgraded compounding facility in 2017 at St Peters has enabled the business to expand and provide resources for continued research, innovation and product development to continue to meet the health needs of patients.
Green Dispensary’s mission is to provide a health solution for every individual’s wellbeing, and to offer the best of pharmaceutical and evidence based complementary medicines supported by personalized advice and education.
What differentiates Green Dispensary from other CBD products out there?
Green Dispensary’s CBD products meet the TGA's pharmaceutical manufacturing standards for medicinal cannabis, from the raw material through to the finished product. This means that raw materials and the finished product must be free from contaminants including pesticides, pollutants and microbial agents, and must conform to the label claim of the active ingredient (eg. CBD) in the final product. End product stability testing is conducted to confirm that the active ingredient remains at its full concentration until the expiry of the product. The CBD raw material used in Green Dispensary’s CBD products are plant-derived and organic.
What are some recent achievements by Green Dispensary?
Our most recent achievement to date has been to lead the change in the landscape for affordable legal access to CBD and other medical cannabis products through the extemporaneous compounding pathway. This pathway is an alternative to the Special Access Scheme (SAS) which is recognized and approved by the TGA. The pathway enables patients to discuss medical cannabis as a therapeutic option with their GPs and have a prescription to have it compounded as per any Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 drug molecule.
What has been the biggest challenge for Green Dispensary in the medical cannabis industry so far? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge so far has been raising awareness to doctors and patients of the extemporaneous compounding pathway since this has only become recently approved as a legal pathway for patient supply. We have overcome this through meetings and conversations with members of our medical community and developing informational resources for patients and health professionals. Since launching into the market 6 months ago, the experience and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and has provided valuable insights into our future progression in this industry.
Can you briefly explain how Australians can access medical cannabis through Green Dispensary?
Extemporaneously compounded CBD (Schedule 4) or THC (Schedule 8) can be ordered on a medical prescription by any medical practitioner in Australia as per other Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 medicines. Any patient can discuss medical cannabis as a therapeutic treatment option with their regular GP if they are willing to prescribe it.
If a patient’s GP requires more information about prescribing CBD or other cannabis products from Green Dispensary, the patient can provide us with details of their GP and we can send them the required information. Medical professionals will also be able to access our health professional brochure through the website at greendispensarycompounding.com
Which medical cannabis product(s) are the most common? Why is this so?
The most commonly prescribed medical cannabis product is the 100mg/ml CBD oral oil solution due to the strength and the ability to initiate a titration method to achieve therapeutic dosages for each individual patient.
From the enquiries that you receive, what are the most common health conditions that people face?
The most common health conditions we see CBD prescribed for is chronic neuropathic and inflammatory pain, various autoimmune conditions and neurological conditions.
What future challenges do you anticipate for Green Dispensary in the Australian medical cannabis industry?
The challenges that lie ahead are to remain innovative and ahead of the curve in the Australian medical cannabis industry. We are driven to provide affordable and equitable access to quality compounded medical cannabis products and as the industry evolves, the challenge will be in differentiating our products and quality standards from others.
Where do you see the future of the Australian medical cannabis industry heading? And the Australian cannabis industry in general?
For the Australian cannabis industry, the next major change could be the down-scheduling of low dose CBD to make it available without a prescription. This will see a multitude of preparations entering the market. In this event, we will have a joint venture with the University of South Australia to develop an orally-dissolving film which will provide a convenient formulation to administer. In general, we expect to see a greater uptake and appetite for prescribing cannabis products in the medical community.
If you could choose one, what is the most interesting discovery or fact of medical cannabis that you would like to share?
The isolated CBD and THC cannabinoid molecules found in cannabis have multiple binding sites other than CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. This means they have a broader range of actions and may help to address multiple symptoms at one time, whereas most singular pharmaceutical molecules target one binding site lending to the multiple prescribing of different medicines for one condition.
CBD Assist does not have any monetary affiliation or business relationship with the Green Dispensary.