Doctor: ‘We need easier access to medicinal cannabis to reduce opioid use’
Dr Orit Holtzman, who practices in New South Wales, said Australia’s laws currently prevent medical cannabis being offered a first-line treatment, with patients instead given opioids or medication for neuropathic pain before they can be considered.
In NSW, patients require one clinical assessment from the Therapeutic Goods Association before being given access to the drug – previously, approvals had to be overseen by both the Commonwealth and NSW Health departments.
“It’s a huge issue that patients are forced to take opioids even if they wish to try medical cannabis first or if their treating doctor thinks it could be good for their needs,” Dr Holtzman told nine.com.au.
“Cannabis should be a first-line treatment because of its low addiction profile and minimal side effect.”
Dr Holtzman said a lack of education was to blame for the views on cannabis within a medical environment, with many doctors reluctant to consider the treatment option.
“There’s a stigma that still sees cannabis as a drug of addition rather than a medication,” she said.