It’s been seven years since medicinal cannabis was legalised in Australia, yet debate over its usage, efficacy, availability, and cost continues. In this SBS article, Dr Russo discusses the best approach to using cannabis in pain management.
It’s been seven years since medicinal cannabis was legalised in Australia, yet debate over its usage, efficacy, availability, and cost continues.
More than 300,000 prescriptions for medicinal cannabis have been approved for conditions ranging from chronic pain to anxiety and depression since federal legislation passed in February 2016.
Demand for medicinal cannabis surged during the pandemic, with 296,804 prescriptions approved under the Therapeutic Goods Administration's (TGA) SAS B scheme from 2020-2022 compared to 27,946 in the three years prior from 2017-2019.
Yet doctors are still calling for more scientific evidence showing therapeutic benefits and harms, and questions over how medicinal cannabis should be regulated and prescribed remain. Advocates for medicinal cannabis also hold concerns, not only about ongoing stigma, high cost, and barriers to access, but about patients being inappropriately prescribed the drug.
'As the clinical data is evolving for medicinal cannabis, mostly we should be reserving the prescriptions of that for patients who fail to respond to conventional medical approaches.' Dr Russo.
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