BuzzFeed reports…..Any perception that Australian GPs weren’t interested in learning about and prescribing medicinal cannabis was silenced on Saturday, as doctors flooded into the International Convention Centre Sydney to discuss cannabis and its future in the country.
On the last day of GP17, a three-day event hosting dozens of sessions on the future of medicine in Australia, standing room was the final option as the morning’s session on “hashing out the facts” about medicinal cannabis began.
Four spectacled men were on the session’s panel: pain specialist professor Milton Cohen; Dr. Tony Gill from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA); neurologist Dr. John Lawson; and ANU Medical School’s Dr. David Caldicott.
The session began with a discussion on the progress of the drug in the medical space, with the TGA’s Gill saying there was not strong evidence yet to support medicinal cannabis, but that further studies and reviews will be published soon.
Cohen said he believed cannabis use did not result in any significant treatment of pain — “Many patients were still suffering after six years of use” — and that there was limited evidence supporting medicinal cannabis use over other medication.
It wasn’t until self-professed “antichrist” of the event, Dr. David Caldicott, spoke that medicinal cannabis was heralded as a possible solution to health problems. Caldicott’s rapid presentation focused on the inaccessibility of the drug in Australia, despite its legal status, and claimed the country’s medical bodies were “laggards in the space”.
Caldicott said there was conclusive and substantive evidence from studies originating out of “some place called Harvard”, and pointed out the fact that fewer opioids were prescribed in states in the US where the drug was legal, with a 30% reduction in mortality rates linked to opioid use.
At the end of the session, many of the GPs in attendance asked questions prefaced with the admittance that they knew very little about the drug.
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