Medicinal cannabis as alternative treatment

Busselton doctor Matthew Moore will be hosting a webinar for medical practitioners on using medicinal cannabis as an alternative therapy.
Busselton doctor Matthew Moore will be hosting a webinar for medical practitioners on using medicinal cannabis as an alternative therapy.

Busselton doctor Matthew Moore will be hosting a webinar for medical professionals who are interested in finding out more about medicinal cannabis.

Dr Moore is a general practitioner who follows chronic disease management guidelines to carefully consider treatments for patients to find what works best.

Dr Moore said the webinar was for doctors and would cover topics such as what, when and how to use medicinal cannabis.

"The most important thing for people to understand is it can be helpful but it is not for everybody," he said.

"There are select indications and only after they have used other medications such as first line and conventional therapies that have failed.

"There is still a lot of bias and for decades we have not been able to use medicinal cannabis, because of that when for thousands of years it had been used as a medicine."

Dr Moore said cannabis was banned in the last century which made way for other medications like opiates to fill that void in pain management

"Those types of drugs can be helpful but they are also very dependent and there are risks," he said.

"For instance, with opiates you can overdose in combination with other medications that are frequently prescribed.

"The message I am really trying to put out there is the history of the plant, the types of medication like capsules, sprays and oils, and talk about some of the indications in my patients and how well they have done then open it up to questions."

Dr Moore hails from the USA where medicinal cannabis is legal to use in many states.

"I have kept my eye on it and was fellowed and trained back in the US, I have also trained and fellowed here," he said.

"That has allowed me to keep on eye on it back home while I have been here for the last 10 years.

"Now that we were able to use it from 2016 and better access from 2018 is exciting."

Dr Moore said medicinal cannabis was an alternative therapy but was not for everybody and there was no guarantee it would be the right therapy for some people.

"You have to be careful driving, obviously you cannot drive if you have medicinal cannabis in your system," he said.

"The psychoactive portion of the plant, the THC, can be associated with psychosis and schizophrenia if taken in high doses.

"There are some patients who are on medications that would have adverse affects potentially so you have to watch liver and kidney function."

Dr Moore said there were a number of indications that the Therapeutic Goods Association and WA Health allowed.

"That's cancer pain, chemotherapy induced vomiting, movement disorders like Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic non-cancer pain like nerve impingement.

"For chronic pain it is very helpful for pain relief to allow people to sleep, insomnia is another indication.

"It has the potential to really improve the quality of life without potentially some of those side effects.

"The potential for overdose is not there."

Currently, medicinal cannabis is not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which limited access for some people.

The process to access the drug can take several weeks before it may be prescribed.

"I think that will change as time goes on and we accumulate data and people are wanting to use it," Dr Moore said.

"Certainly ethically, it is accessible it is just about overcoming that bias for practitioners.

"We are evidence based doctors from the get-go, that is really important.

"We are behind on the research that drives most of our decisions, during the time cannabis was pulled that allowed other medications to come in.

"Cannabis was out of the game for a while but we are now catching up quickly, and that is part of what I am doing, research and accumulating data on my patients so we can present that and change the tide."

Dr Moore's webinar Prescribing medicinal cannabis in the South West will be held online from 6pm on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

To register please go to bit.ly/3hv3CqQ or contact Little Green Pharma before Thursday, June 25, 2020.