What is a medicinal cannabis treatment?
Medicinal cannabis (medical marijuana) is cannabis that has been prescribed by a doctor to relieve symptoms or to treat a medical condition.
The two main types of cannabinoids studied for medicinal use are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive compound found in cannabis responsible for the “high” or altered mental state often correlated to cannabis use. Its benefits include pain relief, nausea and vomiting reduction, appetite stimulation, and relaxation.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It can relieve symptoms including pain, stress, and inflammatory properties.
Benefits of Medicinal cannabis
It can be used to treat medical conditions including:
- Anxiety and depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and insomnia
- Cancer-related symptoms (pain, nausea, reduced appetite)
- Multiple sclerosis pain
- Chronic pain conditions (arthritis pain, lower back pain, neck pain, neuropathic pain)
It also helps to improve your sleep, elevate your mood, and improve your quality of life.
Utilising medical cannabis for effective pain management
Medicinal cannabis offers an efficient approach to pain management, substantially lowering the risk of dependency and eliminating the risk of fatal overdoses when compared to opioid-based drugs. Medicinal cannabis has been reported to be equally, if not more, effective than opioids in alleviating pain.
Also, chronic pain patients tend to opt for medicinal cannabis treatment due to the perception that conventional treatments have not provided them with sufficient relief.
“To date, over 130,000 medicinal cannabis approvals have been issued in Australia, mostly by GPs, with approximately 65% of these used to treat non-cancer chronic pain”, according to the RACGP.
It is important to note that the use of medicinal cannabis should be discussed with an informed healthcare professional. Not everyone may be suitable for medicinal cannabis treatment, so proper guidance and supervision are essential. The treatment plan should be tailored to each patient’s unique needs.
Your Healthcare Providers
- Dr Mosse is a Specialist General Practitioner and Authorised Prescriber of Medicinal Cannabis.
- He treats medical conditions including anxiety and depression, mood disorders, and pain.
*Note: Please ensure that you make your initial consultation with Dr Mosse via the website or telephone. The appointment type is “GP Medicinal Cannabis Initial Consult – 30mins”
- Dr Mir is a General Practitioner and Pain Management Specialist. He specialises in the treatment of chronic pain through medicinal cannabis, virtual reality therapy, and opioid dependence treatment programs.
- He is also a certified Focused Psychology Skills (FPS) Provider and received a certificate of Clinical Hypnosis in 2019.
Please note that you will need to schedule a follow-up consultation with the same doctor from your initial appointment.
Approximately 600,000 Australians are believed to be self-administering cannabis, with chronic pain being a primary reason, according to the RACGP. Those using illicit products often seek relief for mental health or sleep issues, rather than chronic pain.
Medicinal cannabis prescribed by healthcare providers serves as a safer alternative. Prescribed cannabis products offer potential health benefits such as pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and mood disorder management. However, its effects vary for individuals, thereby requiring medical supervision and awareness of potential side effects and legal aspects.
Receiving medicinal cannabis treatment from a medical centre offers several benefits:
- Medicare Rebate: You will be able to receive Medicare rebate for each consultation.
- Comprehensive assessment: Medical centres provide thorough in-person evaluations, allowing your healthcare provider to conduct detailed physical examinations and gather comprehensive medical histories for accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.
- Personalised Treatment Plan: In-person consultation enables healthcare professionals to tailor treatment plans specifically to your needs, considering your medical conditions, history, and preferences.
- Hands-On monitoring: Medical centres offer direct supervision and monitoring of the patient’s progress and response to medicinal cannabis treatment, facilitating timely adjustments to the treatment plan if required.
- Physical examinations: Your doctor can assess physical symptoms and potential side effects more accurately through in-person visits, leading to better-informed decisions about dosages and treatment adjustments.
- Immediate Interaction: Patients can engage in real-time discussions (if required), ask questions, and receive immediate feedback from healthcare providers during their appointments.
You should consider seeing a pain specialist if your pain condition is complex, persistent, or not adequately responding to treatments provided by your GP.
Here are some scenarios where seeking advice from a pain specialist could be beneficial:
- Chronic pain lasting weeks or months, affecting your quality of life
- Unresponsive to previous treatments
- Unclear or conflicting diagnosis
- Requiring specialised procedures (e.g. nerve blocks)
- Long-term medication management or concerns about side effects
- Complex conditions e.g. neuropathic pain or fibromyalgia
- Coordinated multidisciplinary care with other specialists
- Persistent post-surgical pain
- Referral from your primary care provider
Complex underlying conditions for chronic pain refer to medical circumstances or scenarios that involve multifaceted and demanding elements contributing to the development, maintenance, or aggravation of pain.
These conditions can complicate the diagnosis, treatment, and management of pain, often requiring specialised expertise and a thorough, collaborative approach to address all aspects of the pain encounter.
The increase in medicinal cannabis prescription in Australia is driven by changes in regulations permitting lawful access, growing evidence of medical benefits, patient preference for alternative treatments, advocacy initiatives, and a focus on pain relief.
Support from the medical community, government, industry expansion, and global trends also contribute to this growth.