Australia will be opening its first cannabis clinic in Melbourne later this year with another nine more slated to open next year for medical cannabis use.
Victoria became the first Australian state to approve medical cannabis use for children who suffer from epilepsy, with New South Wales following-suit and approving the medicine for patients suffering from cancer and multiple sclerosis. Cannabis clinics in Australia will be up and running by the end of the year.
However, as of April 2018, only 525 patients were approved for cannabis treatment even though according to The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners estimates there are about five million Australians who suffer from chronic or nerve pain.
But now, with new a legislation set in place, physicians are allowed to prescribe cannabis to patients, both adult and children and many experts believe this number will grow exponentially once the first clinic opens.
“For the specific needs where the traditional treatments haven’t worked, we will liaise with their general practitioner and make a destination to make medicinal cannabis more accessible,” said CannaLife founder Helen Lyon.
“The government has done a fantastic job to legalize medicinal cannabis and finally has a system in place, but we have less than 600 people so far who have been treated.”
However, experts are concerned about the model the clinics will use to access patients. Will mental examinations need to take place? Will there be a need for urine drug screens? Will the patient have to pay to see the doctor? All of these questions will need to be addressed before prescriptions can be given out.
In a country where over a hundred thousand people use the drug illegally, the news that the first clinic will be opening in Melbourne has been greeted with great jubilation. For them, this news steers the country towards an eventuality where perhaps recreational cannabis can also be one day implemented, like with sister country of Canada.