Medical marijuana and patient familiarity with this drug are fast becoming regular conversation points in the oncology clinic. Patients and their carers are demonstrating an increasing awareness and uptake of marijuana but appear to overstate its role as an anti-neoplastic.
In February 2016 the Australian government passed legislation to allow cultivation of cannabis. Prior to this in December 2014 the NSW Government launched the Medicinal Cannabis Compassionate Use Scheme permitted any adult with a terminal illness to self access cannabis without fear of criminal charges. In 2017, the NSW Government launched several clinical trials testing medical marijuana’s role in managing cancer symptoms. As a clinician involved in these trials I have developed knowledge and prescribing experience which subsequently led to prescribing of medical marijuana in non-trial patients. As a practicing rural oncologist I have increasing experience on the dialogue regarding medical marijuana’s role in oncology care.
Real world clinician experience and insights into patients beliefs on the role of medical marijuana will be presented in this session. There is little doubt that as a medical community we need to understand the drug’s characteristics better and the evidence base supporting its use so that we can help guide decisions on when medical marijuana may be beneficial to our patients.