More than half of prescriptions for medicinal cannabis in Australia given in Queensland, study says

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More than fractional of each prescriptions for medicinal cannabis successful Australia are written by doctors successful Queensland, with prescriptions often fixed for conditions determination is small grounds medicinal cannabis tin treat, caller probe reveals.

Medicinal cannabis products specified arsenic capsules, creams, oils, lozenges, sprays and granulated flowers were approved for medicine 159,665 times betwixt the commencement of Australia’s medicinal cannabis programme successful February 2016 and September 2021, probe led by the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics shows.

Data obtained done a state of accusation petition to drugs regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) revealed the property of those prescribed the drugs, the crushed for prescribing, and the authorities oregon territory wherever the medicine was made.

Some of this accusation has since been made publically disposable connected the TGA’s Medicinal Cannabis Access Data Dashboard – revealing approved medicinal cannabis prescriptions person present reached much than 247,000 – though the information published is not arsenic elaborate arsenic that obtained by the researchers.

The researchers’ investigation recovered anxiousness was the crushed fixed for 16% of medicinal cannabis prescriptions. Flower-based medicinal cannabis prescriptions for anxiousness were astir common, contempt a deficiency of high-quality objective studies showing treatments made from the angiosperm of the cannabis works are effectual for the condition.

Pain was the astir communal crushed for medicinal cannabis being prescribed (61% of prescriptions), and 5.7% of prescriptions were for slumber disorders. The information besides shows that anterior to 2020, radical betwixt 45 and 52 years aged had the highest incidence of prescriptions. After 2020, those betwixt 20 and 31 years aged were the predominant radical being prescribed medicinal cannabis.

Queensland was the root of 51% of prescriptions betwixt 2016 and 2021.

The pb writer of the study, Sara MacPhail, said it is unclear wherefore the property demographic had changed, oregon wherefore truthful galore prescriptions were being made successful Queensland. These were findings that request further study, she said.

Dr Elizabeth Cairns, a co-author connected the paper, said different absorbing but unexplained uncovering was that prescriptions of topical creams containing CBD, a chemic recovered successful cannabis, were being written for convulsions.

“This usage has not been extensively explored,” Cairns said. “We are alert of objective trials successful that space, but not beardown evidence.”

The findings were published connected Tuesday successful the diary Frontiers successful Pharmacology.

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The usage of medicinal cannabis to dainty symptom is controversial successful Australia. The Australian Faculty of Pain Medicine suggests cannabinoid products should not beryllium prescribed to dainty chronic non-cancer pain, unless the diligent is being treated arsenic portion of a registered objective proceedings truthful that amended grounds tin beryllium gathered.

Few studies person been done examining cannabis for the attraction of slumber disorders.

“However, some the aesculapian practitioner and the TGA are progressive successful the medicine and support of medicinal cannabis nether the peculiar entree strategy successful Australia, truthful it’s gone done rounds of support earlier going to the patient,” Cairns said.

“So I deliberation medicinal cannabis is often seen arsenic that past edifice erstwhile different treatments person failed.”

Prof Jennifer Martin, a objective pharmacologist, physician, and main researcher with the Australia Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence, said though doctors whitethorn consciousness they are prescribing arsenic a “last resort”, it tin beryllium hard to accidental nary to a distressed and sick patient.

There could beryllium galore barriers to patients trying much evidence-based treatments specified arsenic multi-disciplinary symptom clinics, psychotherapy oregon workout programs, she said.

“Some of those programs instrumentality a existent concern from the diligent to perpetrate to them implicit time, and often radical can’t get into the programs due to the fact that there’s a waitlist, oregon owed to cost,” Martin said.

She said successful New South Wales, the main wellness officer, Dr Kerry Chant, had secured authorities backing for the NSW Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service, which gives proposal and evidence-based accusation to doctors.

“A batch of doctors extremity up not going up with the medicine aft getting proposal from the service,” Martin said.

“Sometimes the diligent was not alert that medicinal cannabis products could worsen their condition. This mightiness besides beryllium wherefore prescriptions are little successful NSW than Queensland.”