Medical marijuana demand is growing in Hervey Bay as the region’s only authorized prescriber has enrolled more than 270 patients since its clinic opened a year ago.
My founder of the cannabis clinic, Dr. Shahnur Rahman, treated his first patient with medicinal cannabis in November 2019.
Now Dr. Rahman, who recently became an authorized prescriber for the drug, has 271 patients from Bundaberg and has 42 general practitioners referring clients to him.
Dr. Rahman said the majority of patients responded well to the alternative treatment, but there were a couple who experienced negative side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
« It’s still a drug that is being tested, so we don’t know the long-term side effects, but so far it looks positive in my clinic … no life-threatening side effects have been seen, » he said.
Dr. Rahman prescribes medicinal cannabis in various forms with either CBD, THC, or a mixture of both elements.
He said CBD is the non-psychoactive and very mellow element, while THC is a powerful ingredient for serious illness and doctors need it to control dosage.
Dr. Rahman said what he prescribes for a patient depends on his condition and whether he is already a heavy marijuana smoker.
« Some of our patients only have CBD and others are mixed with THC too, » he said.
« If someone is a very heavy cannabis smoker … I have to vape (because) when I start the oil it won’t work. »
Many of Dr. Rahman’s patients experience significant pain and turn to medicinal cannabis as a last resort.
Medical cannabis can treat more than 42 conditions, including severe anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD, epilepsy, cancer-related pain, and chronic pain that does not respond adequately to opioids or other analgesics.
It is because Queensland has more medical marijuana approvals than almost all of the other states combined.
Almost 34,000 approvals have been issued in the past four years, compared to 18,500 in NSW and 14,000 in Victoria.
Gail Wiseman, general manager of Australia’s Medicinal Cannabis Association, said the high number was likely due to more medical cannabis clinics opening in the state.
In addition to access to clinics, patients and general practitioners are more open to the use of medical marijuana.
Dr. However, Rahman said more doctors and government subsidies were still needed, even though the monthly cost of the drug fell over the past year.
The average prescription for medical cannabis used to cost between $ 300 and $ 500 per month, now it’s between $ 90 and $ 200 per month.
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