Lullaby Health

How alternative medicine may help support chronic conditions

When there’s a health crisis, people tend to rally around, making casseroles and offering help in various other ways. 

Long-term health needs are different though. Ordinary life continues. You have to manage your condition every day while continuing to go to work, care for your kids and run your household. It can be quite draining. 


What are chronic conditions?

Doctors tend to consider health conditions in two main categories: acute and chronic. 

Acute conditions strike suddenly and may make you feel quite unwell but you will usually recover in a few days or weeks. They’re often caused by viruses, infections or accidents. Time and the right treatment usually cure an acute condition. 

In contrast, chronic conditions develop more slowly and cannot be cured – only managed. They might develop due to lifestyle factors (e.g. linked to smoking, diet, activity levels or alcohol consumption), genetic influences (family history) or age. Examples include diabetes, dementia, high blood pressure, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and cancer.


Chronic conditions in Australia

Chronic conditions are the leading cause of illness, disability and death in Australia.  

Over 8 million Australians (36% of the population) reported living with a chronic health condition in the 2021 Census. Many, many people live with more than one chronic condition, particularly as they get older.  


The reality of living with a chronic condition

Chronic health conditions may not be life-threatening but they can have a significant effect on your daily life and wellbeing. 

You may be dealing with pain, multiple medications, fatigue, stress and disturbed sleep. You probably also have to fit in more healthcare appointments and may be more at risk of developing other health problems. Diabetes, for example, can lead to neuropathic (nerve-related) pain


How alternative medicine might help

There are well-researched treatment approaches for many chronic conditions. They can help a great deal – but there may be many issues that you’re still trying to deal with such as sleep, stress or residual pain. 

This is where alternative medicine may be able to complement your mainstream care. Research suggests that alternative medicine may help to treat: 

  • severe muscular spasms and other symptoms of multiple sclerosis
  • chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • some types of epilepsy with severe seizures
  • palliative care (cachexia, nausea and vomiting, pain)
  • some types of chronic pain – for example, arthritis, back pain, neck pain or neuropathic (nerve-related) pain
  • Sleeping difficulties (insomnia)
  • Anxiety – which is more common among people with chronic conditions. 

There’s also emerging research suggesting that alternative medicine may play a role in managing hypertension (high blood pressure). 

As Lullaby Health’s Dr Dev Banerjee says, “Some interesting data was published recently. Although more research is needed, I do think alternative medicine will eventually play a role in managing hypertension.”


Lullaby Health helps you access a better way

Lullaby Health’s GPs and specialists have extensive experience and are recognised leaders in their respective fields. 

Our goal is to provide genuine, solution-focused care, anticipating your needs and ensuring you have ongoing support. 

We begin by listening to your experience of living with a chronic condition. We’ll ask about your symptoms, stress levels and sleep quality among other things. From there, we’ll consider the best way to improve your quality of life. 

For some patients, we can prescribe alternative medicine. Lullaby Health enables you to access alternative medicine under the guidance of highly skilled doctors with discreet and speedy dispensing of medication together with continuing care. 

Our focus is on finding a solution that works for you, rather than on prescribing alternative medicine. Alternative medicine is not for everyone and the doctors at Lullaby Health will take time to assess your suitability. We may recommend other forms of treatment if we feel these would be more suitable for you and will continue to work closely with you to improve your symptoms. 




Lullaby Health is not promoting the use of medical cannabis. Medical cannabis does affect every person differently, due to factors such as size, weight, health, dosage, tolerance, and age. Medical cannabis might not work for you, and you might experience side effects. Information provided by Lullaby Health is for educational and informational purposes only. For medical advice, please refer to your doctor. Medical cannabis in Australia is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and details about cannabis as a scheduled drug can be found on their website.

Everything you and your doctor need to know about plant medicine
Everything you and your doctor need to know about alternative medicine

Alternative medicine is still relatively new in Australia meaning that you (and your doctor) may have questions about it. 

Lullaby Health’s doctors are highly experienced prescribers of alternative medicine. Here, we answer some of the most common questions we’re asked about it. 


Is it legal? 

Yes. In 2016, Australia legalised the use of alternative medicine on prescription. 


Can any doctor prescribe alternative medicine? 

Yes…but it’s a little more complicated than prescribing other medications. 

Only a couple of alternative medicine drugs are included in Australia’s register of therapeutic goods. That means most alternative medicine is currently classed as an ‘unapproved therapeutic good’ and doctors need special permission to prescribe it. 

They can do this in two ways: 

  • Applying to the Special Access Scheme for each patient they treat
  • Becoming an Authorised Prescriber, meaning they have received permission to treat patients as they see fit and don’t need permission for each individual patient (Lullaby Health doctors are authorised prescribers). 


Can’t I just buy some online? 

We understand the temptation but no.  

Firstly, self-diagnosis is problematic. Your doctor is trained to assess your condition, consider all the available treatments and recommend a way forward that meets your needs and your broader situation (such as your job requirements). In rushing to diagnose yourself and obtain the treatment you think best, you may easily miss something. 

Secondly, as you’ll be ordering from overseas, your package must go through customs – who are authorised to seize it as it can only be imported by licensed doctors, not consumers. You’ll probably just lose the money you’ve paid. 


How is it different from street versions? 

In so many ways. All medicines – including alternative medicine – are highly regulated and subject to strict quality controls. That’s vital to ensure consistency and stability so that each dose is the same. 

None of those safeguards exists for street versions. They may be contaminated by pesticides, fertilisers or heavy metals found in soil and they may vary considerably in their strength, which may cause more intense effects than you anticipated. 


What might alternative medicine help with? 

Alternative medicine aims to complement the mainstream care you’re receiving for your health needs. 

Mainstream treatment tends to have a stronger evidence base and a longer history of clinical use, giving us greater confidence in its effectiveness. However, some patients may find that they’re still battling troublesome symptoms or that the mainstream treatment itself causes unpleasant side effects. 

This is where alternative medicine may play a role. It may help to alleviate some of the symptoms that still trouble you, such as sleep difficulties or nausea. 


How does alternative medicine work? 

Alternative medicine interacts with a vast network of chemical signals and cellular receptors densely packed throughout your brain and body. This network helps to regulate many important aspects of your life, such as your appetite, temperature or alertness, for example. 

The active ingredients in alternative medicine bind to some of those receptors, influencing aspects such as pain or sleep.


How do you take alternative medicine? 

While street versions are usually smoked, legal alternative medicine is often taken by mouth in the form of oils, pills or dried flower products.  


What’s the difference between CBD and THC? 

CBD and THC are the two most common active ingredients in alternative medicine. THC is the chemical that gets people high. CBD does not cause intoxication.


How pricey is it? 

The vast majority of alternative medicine products have not been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and so are not covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). 

If you have private health insurance, your fund may cover your treatment but may set an annual limit or a maximum rebate per prescription. 

So, yes, you’re likely to have some out-of–pocket costs for your treatment. At Lullaby Health, we explain your likely costs before you decide to proceed with treatments so that you can make an informed financial decision. 


Are there any side effects? 

All medicines have side effects that some patients may experience. Common side effects of alternative medicine include:

  • Fatigue
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea 
  • Fever
  • Changes to appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhoea. 

In addition, THC may cause:

  • Convulsions
  • Highs and lows
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Psychosis
  • Thinking things that aren’t true (cognitive distortions). 


What about driving? 

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation states that, if your medicine contains only CBD, you can legally drive – as long as your ability to drive is not affected. That introduces a grey area so it’s important to be aware of the laws in your state.

It is illegal to drive with any amount of THC in your system. THC is intoxicating.  It can impair your driving ability and create a sense of being high. In fact, even if you don’t feel high (CBD can moderate that), you can still be impaired

Be aware that THC can stay in your system for a long time. THC can be detected in your saliva for 6 hours-3 days after use and in your blood or urine for up to a month. 


How can Lullaby Health help? 

At Lullaby Health, we aim to help you find a solution for the difficulties you face. Unlike many other clinics, we offer a high level of ongoing support as you adjust to alternative medicine. 

With us, you have access to experienced doctors who can help you understand how alternative medicine works and how it may help you. Our goal is not simply to dash off a prescription but to help you find a way through the difficulties you’re facing. 

Please contact us to find out more. 



Lullaby Health is not promoting the use of medical cannabis. Medical cannabis does affect every person differently, due to factors such as size, weight, health, dosage, tolerance, and age. Medical cannabis might not work for you, and you might experience side effects. Information provided by Lullaby Health is for educational and informational purposes only. For medical advice, please refer to your doctor. Medical cannabis in Australia is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and details about cannabis as a scheduled drug can be found on their website.



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