The highs and lows of medicinal cannabis

A new article for prescribers about medicinal cannabis just published in Australian Prescriber provides a summary of the latest information, issues and challenges in this controversial area of medicine.

“Prescribing medicinal cannabis may feel like a ‘leap in the dark’ for many GPs who feel uneducated in this emerging area of clinical practice,” write Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold from the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney and his co-authors.

“Australian doctors are fielding daily enquiries about medicinal cannabis from their patients, so it is prudent to learn more regardless of whether or not they wish to prescribe cannabis,” they write.

The article describes what medicinal cannabis is, which products are available and how they can be accessed. It also outlines some of the conditions that can be treated and summarises some of the key adverse effects and precautions to be considered when prescribing medicinal cannabis.

The authors write that the Therapeutic Goods Administration has published a series of clinical guidance documents that summarise the available information for medicinal cannabis products in chronic pain, palliative care, epilepsy and spasticity in multiple sclerosis. Definitive evidence in support of specific products for various conditions is often not available.

“Its important medical practitioners discuss with their patients the harms and benefits of medicinal cannabis so that the patient can provide informed consent to this therapeutic pathway. Patients need to be given information about common and serious adverse effects,” write the authors.

Read the full Australian Prescriber article.

This article complements information published by NPS MedicineWise earlier this year with content and resources for consumers, prescribers and dispensers on medicinal cannabis.

     

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    Matthew Harris, NPS MedicineWise Communications & PR adviser: (02) 8217 9229, 0419 618 365 or [email protected]

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