THE WA Australian Medical Association has raised concerns about a partnership between Perth health clinics and a medical cannabis producer.
In the biggest deal of its kind, leading medical cannabis supplier Montu has signed a deal with Jupiter health clinics across WA, claiming it can help drastically cut waiting times for patients with a cannabis prescription.
Montu will be providing “advice” to GPs on the 30 conditions it claims medicinal cannabis can treat, including chronic pain, anxiety and insomnia.
But AWA WA president Dr Andrew Miller is urging caution.
“There is limited evidence available as to the effectiveness of medical cannabis for the wide range of suggested uses – more clinical trials and data is needed,” he told the Herald.
“Patients seeking medicinal cannabis for nausea, or chronic pain, may benefit from other drugs and treatments – we are realising more and more that drugs are not the answer for most chronic problems.
“There are a group of patients who likely will benefit from medicinal cannabis but it is alarming the zeal and speed with which proponents want to expand widely the range of benefits of what they are selling.
“Buyer beware: Wide use of medical cannabis for a long list of reasons based on advertising will not benefit the community.”
The majority of Australian doctors are unconvinced too, with less than 5 per cent prescribing medical cannabis, despite more than a third of patients asking about it.
Montu managing director Christopher Strauch said the partnership with Jupiter – the state’s largest clinic network – was a “significant step to integrate cannabis into medical practice more broadly”.
Mr Strauch said patients who’d suffered chronic pain for more than 20 years had been able to quit opioids after cannabis treatment and live normal lives, while it had also helped people suffering depression and poor sleep.
“We put patient outcomes first and are proud to facilitate widespread access to medical cannabis by actively supporting doctors here in WA and across the country through our nationwide team of medical liaisons.”
The Herald asked if the partnership tied Jupiter GPs into prescribing Montu’s medical cannabis products.
“Jupiter’s GPs have the freedom to choose the medical cannabis product and partner they deem most suitable for their patients,” Mr Strauch said.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK