The national advocacy body shows support for the upcoming TGA proposal to de-schedule CBD. However, is this enough?
Painaustralia released a blog post earlier this week commenting on their support for the de-scheduling of CBD. In conjunction with their support, Painaustralia CEO, Carol Bennett, states that despite exisiting evidence, more independent clinical research is needed.
The blog post became an extension of a recently published position paper with mixed reactions. The paper outlines the demand for medical cannabis for pain management, however, also recommends building "sound evidence" for its efficacy and safety for chronic pain patients.
We want to see medicinal cannabis included as another option in the pain management toolkit, but this must be backed by an independent evidence base to support the effectiveness and safety of medicinal cannabis products for chronic pain.Carol Bennett – Painaustralia CEO
Although Painaustralia supports CBD, Bennett notes that the availability alone of medical marijuana is not enough.
"Without proper evidence, making medicinal cannabis more available could see millions of Australians living with chronic pain offered 'false hope' of a treatment option that is expensive, has limited benefit and diverts them from seeking and accessing best practice pain management," acknowledges Bennett.
Furthermore, Bennett notes that due to the "provisions" of the Special Access Scheme (SAS), many medicinal marijuana manufacturers are reluctant to associate themselves with clinical research.
Currently, a majority of research that is being conducted is being financed by organisations that "have a financial vested interest". Unbiased evidence needs to be substantiated in order for practitioners to recommend medical marijuana to patients.
In turn, without independent research into the safety and efficacy of marijuana for patients, it reinforces a barrier for patient access. This results in a revolving door that prevents the development of education, research, and evidence that will assist in patient care.
Medicinal marijuana is mostly sought out for pain management, however, its effect is not uniform across everyone. Depending on one's psychological and physiological make-up, medicinal marijuana is not always a optimal choice of treatment. This is why, according to Bennett, more research is needed.
As it stands, pain management is not confined to a single source of treatment, rather, part of a "comprehensive and active pain management plan". Medical marijuana is no exception to this rule.
Although, Painaustralia supports CBD de-scheduling, Bennett clearly identifies the flaws in the system. The recommendation of unbiased research is warranted. In fact, it's needed to eventually lead to education of the benefits of marijuana to be used in a safe and efficacious way.
The TGA will release its decision on the de-scheduling on November 25th. If successful, the amendment will allow patients to purchase low-dose CBD products over-the-counter as early as February 2021.
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