Strange to think that medical cannabis was a pipe dream a decade ago. Since the dawn of 2016 where federal legislations allowed the production and prescribing of medical cannabis by registered doctors, there have been many changes afoot in the community.
The winds are changing, they’re beginning to favour the bold, the brave, and the green thanks to the more accessible studies that are progressively released as time goes on. There have been a range of new studies in the last 6 years since medical cannabis was approved for prescription use, and through this there are more accounts and people coming forward and preaching on behalf of the substance being used to effectively treat a variety of ailments.
So, where is this great green road head towards, and what stigmas still remain in the community that still need to be addressed pertaining to medical cannabis? Let’s explore.
A Trending Rise In Medical Cannabis Prescriptions
There have already been a number of studies on the trends that have manifested as a result of medical cannabis passing the sniff test with legislation on a federal level. A lot of these reports have concluded similarly that there has been a definitive upswing in medicinal marijuana prescriptions since the legalisation.
Though the evidence is purely anecdotal due to the strict privacy that surrounds health records, there has been a notable increase in prescriptions from early 2020 onwards, particularly in the realm of younger Australians.
Speculatively speaking this could be due to a number of factors:
- Relaxed general consensus on the use of marijuana in a medicinal fashion.
- An increased level of stress and anxiety as a result of the pandemic.
- A respite of access and increased breadth of treatable conditions for medical cannabis.
- Or a combination of all of the above.
Classes & Schedules
You may be thinking that the increased usage and prescriptions of medicinal marijuana in Australia must mean that the laws have become less strict – well, yes and no.
The Office For Drug Control classifies medicines according to a ‘schedule’ which is based on potential risks and harms.
Cannabidiol or CBD is classified as a Schedule 4 (prescription only), and THC is classed as a Schedule 8 (controlled drug) substance. It should be noted that some states in Australia will only allow the prescribing of Schedule 8 drugs with approval from the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) and additional approval from a state governing health authority.
It is interesting to note that THC is classified in the same realm as medications like Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Methadone, and other risqué and overtly strong opiate-based pain management medications.
It should also be noted that THC does not contain opiates.
Where We’re Going
There is still an incredible high bar for medical cannabis to be treated as a viable option in the general community. Governing bodies and some pharmaceutical members are pushing back on legislation which has restricted the potential expansion of research and access. However, the trends are speaking for themselves, and more doctors and patients are giving medical cannabis a go.