Medicinal Cannabis – what are patients asking their GP’s?

February 24, 2020

Medicinal cannabis - what are patients asking their GP?

Around the world, there is a growing interest in the use of cannabis as a medicine. In New Zealand, a Medicinal Cannabis Scheme is currently being established to increase access to medicinal cannabis products. In light of this, we decided to ask kiwi General Practitioners (GPs) what patients have been asking them about the subject. Over 6 months in 2018 we surveyed 76 GPs across the North Island.

The GPs reported that patients were asking about medical cannabis products to treat symptoms related to pain, cancer and end-of-life care. Some of their patients been using illicit cannabis to self-manage problems like pain, anxiety and depression.  

Only a small number of GPs had tried to prescribe medical cannabis products. Many more were concerned about their use due to a lack of good evidence, and confusion about how to prescribe, source and fund them.

Most GPs reported that they would be likely to prescribe a cannabis product if it was regulated, and clinical trials showed it worked for specific medical conditions.

Given the increased attention and upcoming introduction of the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme, it is important that GPs are supported so they are able to have informed discussions with their patients about safe and effective use of cannabis as a medicine.

Full publication

If you have Institutional Access you can view the full article titled “Medical cannabis: knowledge and expectations in a cohort of North Island New Zealand general practitioners”, which is available on the New Zealand Medical Journal (NZMJ) website here: http://bit.ly/med-cannabis-GP.

Media coverage:

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) interview
NZ Doctor
New Zealand Herald