Have you wondered why Australian pain patients are lagging behind the rest of the world in accessing Medicinal Cannabis to assist in the management of their pain and associated conditions such as PTSD, depression, nausea, and sleep deprivation?
Though accessibility is slowly gaining momentum now, this excerpt from a past Medicinal Cannabis Roadshow highlights the paternalistic approach taken by the Australian Health Department and Government.
The text below is from an Australian Government Health Department:
“The legislation is clear, if you do not hold prescribing authority from the TGA for cannabis (which most GP’s don’t, and don’t want) then the only way forward is to refer to specialists in the public system who are now empowered by the legislation to prescribe “where they deem appropriate”.
What does that actually mean?
Long waiting times for neuro, palliative and pain services Almost non-existent likelihood that the specialists will prescribe, or start an n=1 trial of medicinal
Summary of material as presented at recent roadshow:
- Pain: poor evidence, unlikely to treat
- Oncology: some evidence for refractory nausea in chemo (affects around 2 patients
statewide per year) Unlikely to treat
- Palliative: interest in possible use but poor evidence, unlikely to commence treatment
- Neuro: good evidence of efficacy in Dravet’s and one other epileptic presentation. May use as a last resort. (note these patients are profoundly intellectually disabled, so as a rule of thumb “if the patient can ask for medicinal cannabis they will not be eligible”
There has been no process provided by the department so at the moment, referral to the specialist in the THS is the only avenue.
The only other message I would give is that pain management using cannabis falls neatly into the same treatment modality as CBT and some movement therapies, namely mood modulation. There is no clearly understood analgesic effect of cannabis, but you don’t mind the pain so much when you are stoned.
We are waiting for material to send out to all but have not received any at this time.”