Medical cannabis has been legal in Australia since 2016, but many patients still face barriers to access it. However, thanks to a $50 bet between two friends, a new online platform is changing the game for thousands of Australians who rely on cannabis for their health and wellbeing.
CanView: a one-stop shop for medical cannabis
CanView is an online platform that connects patients, doctors, and pharmacies in the medical cannabis sector. It allows patients to find doctors who can prescribe cannabis, order products from a range of suppliers, and have them delivered to their doorsteps. It also provides education and support for patients and health professionals.
The idea for CanView came from a $50 bet between two friends, Ben Quirin and Asaf Katz, who were working in the pharmaceutical industry. They noticed that there was a huge gap in the market for a convenient and affordable way to access medical cannabis in Australia.
“We saw that there was a lot of frustration and confusion among patients and doctors about how to access medical cannabis,” Quirin said. “We thought there must be a better way to do this, so we decided to create a platform that would simplify the process and make it more accessible for everyone.”
Quirin and Katz launched CanView in 2020, after winning the bet and securing funding from investors. Since then, the platform has grown rapidly, with over 30,000 patients, 1,500 doctors, and 600 pharmacies using it. CanView claims to be the largest online marketplace for medical cannabis in Australia, offering over 100 products from 15 suppliers.
The benefits of medical cannabis for patients
Medical cannabis is used to treat a variety of conditions, such as chronic pain, epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. According to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, more than 122,000 prescriptions for medical cannabis were written in 2021, a significant increase from previous years.
Many patients who use medical cannabis report positive outcomes, such as improved quality of life, reduced reliance on opioids, and fewer side effects. One of them is David, who suffers from fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread pain and fatigue.
David started using medical cannabis in 2020, after getting a prescription from his GP. He said that cannabis helped him to manage his symptoms and function better in his daily life.
“Medical cannabis allows me to work and go about my day, go for a walk, or do whatever I need to do,” he said. “It masks the symptoms of fibromyalgia and improves my sleep.”
David said that he found CanView to be a convenient and reliable way to access medical cannabis, as he could order products online and have them delivered to his home.
“CanView is a great service, it’s very easy to use and it saves me a lot of time and hassle,” he said. “I don’t have to go to the pharmacy or worry about running out of stock. I can choose from a range of products and compare prices and quality.”
The challenges and opportunities for the medical cannabis industry
Despite the growing demand and popularity of medical cannabis, the industry still faces some challenges and opportunities in Australia. One of the main barriers is the cost of treatment, which can be prohibitive for many patients. The average cost of medical cannabis is $79 per week, according to a recent survey by the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative.
Another challenge is the lack of education and awareness among health professionals and the general public about the benefits and safety of medical cannabis. Many doctors are reluctant or unable to prescribe cannabis, due to the complex and restrictive regulations, the limited evidence base, and the stigma associated with the drug.
However, there are also signs of progress and innovation in the sector, as more research, products, and services are being developed and offered. For example, the Federation TAFE in Ballarat recently launched the first accredited medicinal cannabis cultivation course in Australia, to train the next generation of cannabis growers and entrepreneurs.
The Cannabiz Awards, an annual event that recognises and rewards the best in the business, also showcases the achievements and potential of the industry. The 2023 winners included companies, products, and individuals that have made a positive impact on the sector and the society.
Quirin and Katz, the founders of CanView, said that they were optimistic about the future of medical cannabis in Australia, and hoped that their platform would contribute to its growth and accessibility.
“We believe that medical cannabis is a legitimate and effective treatment option for many patients, and we want to make it easier for them to access it,” Quirin said. “We also want to support the industry and create a transparent and competitive market that benefits everyone.”
“We think that medical cannabis is here to stay, and we are excited to be part of this journey,” Katz added.