Further evidence a high priority for GPs in use of medicinal cannabis

31 October, 2016

Changes to legislation on medicinal cannabis have the potential to be mistaken by patients as official endorsement of its use, according to a position statement released this week by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

The RACGP has released the statement ahead of the 1 November introduction of Commonwealth legislation that will make medicinal cannabis a controlled prescription drug.

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel said the statement will help GPs to manage a potential increase in requests for medicinal cannabis.

"Recent changes to the legislation may have created an incorrect perception of easy access to cannabis products", he said.

"GPs may experience greater patient demand to prescribe cannabis-based medications.

"Further evidence is still needed, particularly relating to treatment efficacy and the longer term side-effects of cannabis-based drugs.

As is the case with all medications, cannabis products must be approved or registered through the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) before they can be prescribed.

"The current evidence-base for the use of cannabis-based medicines is still emerging, and these products can be prescribed only under strict protocols," said Dr Seidel.

Visit the RACGP position statement on the medicinal use of cannabis products.