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Medicinal cannabis legalisation can reduce opioid deaths, comedian Wil Anderson says

April 5, 2017

Cannabis plants are seen in a greenhouse of Swiss cannabis producer KannaSwiss in Koelliken, Switzerland March 20, 2017. Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Comedian Wil Anderson has spoken about using medicinal cannabis on a regular basis as a remedy for osteoporosis that he has been suffering from for years. He emphasised that the product, should it be legalised in Australia, could save lives.

Speaking as a guest on The Project on Tuesday, the comedian said he hoped the country would legalise the drug soon. “Three million people have chronic pain in this country and it’s a thing where they in this country and it’s a thing where they normally will diagnose you open opioids, and there’s this amazing opioid addiction as a result,” he said.

He compared Australia with the United States, where medicinal marijuana is allowed, noting that deaths caused due to opiod addictions in some states have decreased by a third. Anderson made an appearance on US comic Doug Benson's “Getting Doug with High” Youtube show in 2014, where he was seen puffing on a weed pipe. Anderson has been prescribed heavy painkillers in the past, which, he said, resulted in “massive, serious side effects.”

According to a 2015 research, there has been a large increase in the number of people being treated for addition to painkillers like codeine and oxycodone in the nine years from 2002. The findings, gathered from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW, has prompted authorities to introduce changes regarding the administration of painkillers.

A few Australian states have launched trials for cannabis oil as a form of treatment of certain health issues. Nevertheless, the programs, being in their nascent stage, are heavily regulated.

Anderson’s comments concerning making access to medicinal cannabis easier come as doctors in the country find obtaining permission for prescribing the drug to patients suffering from chronic pain terribly difficult. As a result, the State Government is on the receiving end of immense pressure to make the access of the drug easier.

Draft South Australia Government guidelines dictate that the authority to prescribe medicinal cannabis lies solely with specialists. Although no specific criteria have been released, the doctor responsible for prescribing the drug should be an oncologist. Until now, three medical professionals have applied for approval to the state government to be allowed to prescribe the drug.

To be able to prescribe the product, the medical professional will need to get the approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the state Drugs of Dependence Unit (DDU). A spokesman for Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said a Special Access Scheme B form is required to be filled to get the approval from TGA. “States and territories have their own legislation around access to medicinal cannabis, including what type of practitioner can prescribe,” the spokesman said.

http://www.ibtimes.com.au/medicinal-cannabis-legalisation-can-reduce-opioid-deaths-comedian-wil-anderson-says-1549492

 

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