KANABO Group has today announced the launch of a new online medical cannabis clinic for pain management, Treat It.
The service will be powered by Kanabo’s private telemedicine and online primary healthcare service provider The GP Service, which it acquired in a deal worth £14m this time last year.
Treat It’s launch marks the first significant implementation of the GP Service’s technology in the cannabis field, and represents the latest evolution of the LSE-listed company as it seeks to continue its focus on service.
Its CEO Avihu Tamir told BusinessCann: “For the first time we are becoming a technology company. We were a cannabis product company, and now we’re a technology company with a full medical ecosystem.”
The Treat It service will be available to patients in the UK as of today, offering online access to a doctor ‘usually within less than 24 hours’.
Unlike the majority of medical cannabis clinics in the UK, Treat It is an online primary healthcare provider, and utilises the ‘backbone’ of the GP Service’s platform to give doctors instant access to patient’s medical records, enabling them to make a recommendation for treatment.
These treatments can be processed and delivered ‘usually within a week’ to The GP Service’s existing network of roughly 4000 pharmacies across the UK, with repeat prescriptions sent ‘the next day’.
BusinessCann reported in January that Kanabo believes the real battleground for medical cannabis in the UK over the coming years will be centred around service.
Treat It lays out Kanabo’s battle plan for seeking to edge ahead of its competitors in this field, focusing on reducing waiting times for both patients and doctors, maximising the time patients will be able to spend with their doctors, and offering a ‘holistic’ range of treatments far beyond medical cannabis prescriptions.
Dr Mehran Afshar, consultant at St. George’s Hospital, who will now act as Treat It’s clinical director after having helped Kanabo build it, says this aspect will be key to bringing ‘cannabis naive’ patients into the market.
“To reach those naive patients who are either unaware of or have the wrong perception of medicinal cannabis, I think fundamentally you have to be able to see all of the patients concerns to ensure that they see you as a clinical service rather than a cannabis business.
“And that’s why I think having the array of different medical services at our disposal through the GP Service, the ability to refer on to a rheumatologist, or refer on to a psychiatrist, or obtain scans and x-rays and blood tests and so on, adds not only legitimacy and perhaps more trust, but also from a clinical perspective, it’s a much better service for the patient.”
Extended Kanabo Group
Becoming a Treat It patient will not automatically mean you are also a GP Service patient, and vice versa.
According to Mr Tamir, from a ‘corporate perspective’ the two services are the same, with both working on the same Care Quality Commission (CQC) licence which was recently expanded to include controlled drugs and unlicensed medicines.
However, from a patient perspective, both entities will be completely different, including different branding, marketing and medical directors.
“Imagine primary care and secondary care with different teams operating under the same house or clinical licence.”
In terms of patient journey’s, Dr Afshar explained: “One pathway is you come to Treat It looking for treatment for your pain. If you’re not eligible then there is a direct path via that entry into the GP Service to see a general practitioner and then to try and identify treatment options for your ailments.
“If you are eligible, then you will get seen by a doctor who also works on a GP Service, but the platform is different, and you will be a Treat It patient.
“It is a holistic clinical service, with the additional ability to treat people with medicinal cannabis should they require it and need it.”
This also works the other way around, meaning that there are potentially thousands of patients who would be suitable for medical cannabis treatment already using the GP Service.
Mr Tamir estimates that there are around 40,000 patients that have come through the GP service to date, 15-17% of which could be suitable for medical cannabis treatment.
While Treat It is currently only available to serve patients for pain and cancer-related nausea and vomiting, Kanabo is hoping to expand this to other ailments this year after bringing more specialists on board.
Next, Kanabo plans to focus on ‘psychology and psychiatry’, helping patients with ‘anxiety, stress, depression and PTSD’.