You may have seen some attention in today’s media around medicinal cannabis.
As the media story raises many points about medicinal cannabis (including public sentiment and common pros and cons about the product), compares the situation in Australia with other countries, quotes and/or refers to key players including Australian governments and doctors; and significantly, references multiple sclerosis (and five other chronic conditions), we felt it timely to cement our position on this topic.
MS Australia (MSA) wants people living with MS to have access to the full suite of treatments to effectively and optimally manage their condition, which we know sometimes includes medicinal cannabis.
We continue to support advances to ensure the availability of medicinal cannabis: to ensure purity of product, ability to manage dose and monitor effectiveness; and importantly, that do not require people to source it in illegal ways.
As stated in the MSA-endorsed Brain Health report*, smoking has a detrimental effect on MS and given the media story talks about the different ways people consume medical cannabis, we wanted to reiterate this point:
Cigarette smoking is associated with decreased brain volume in people with MS, as well as with higher relapse rates, increased disability progression, more cognitive problems and reduced survival compared with not smoking.
(Extract from the ‘Brain Health: a guide for people with MS’ report, page 3)
Today’s media coverage raises many key points for consideration including:
- A streamlined access system – which we welcome and know is being rolled out in most states/territories of Australia.
- A potential lead/governing agency for medicinal cannabis – an interesting idea, as we definitely support appropriate governance of the industry!
MSA is keen to help expand the treatment options available for people living with MS across the nation – those proven to be effective, which can be accessed legally and have been discussed thoroughly with a persons’ neurologist and healthcare team.