LUCY Haslam is urging local doctors to register for a free course about how to prescribe medical cannabis.
While medical cannabis has been legal in NSW since 2016, there are still a number of barriers to patients accessing it.
“In Tamworth, patients are saying to me they’ve tried to broach the subject with their doctor, but the doctor says ‘I wouldn’t know the first thing about prescribing it’,” Mrs Halsam said.
“From my point of view, they need to get involved or they are making themselves irreverent to their patients’ needs.
“There are already so many patients doing it anyway. They would be much safer under the care of a doctor, rather than buying on the black market, which is not ideal for anyone let alone someone who is sick.”
It’s the first time the accredited course has come to the bush. It’s already done the rounds in the nation’s capital cities, where it’s had big turnouts and “overwhelmingly positive feedback”.
“My message to any patients is to please talk to your doctor about it if you think it might help you, and encourage your doctor to go to the course,” Mrs Haslam said.
The course will go through the federal guidelines, what types of conditions it can be prescribed for and what types of products there are.
It also goes through the history cannabis prohibition and why it was banned in the first place.
“That’s really important, because it gets doctors comfortable with prescribing something that’s been illegal for over 100 years,” Mrs Haslam said.
“It helps people to understand that it’s not the dangerous gateway drug we’ve been taught it is.”
Mrs Halsam hoped the region’s general practitioners would heed the call.
“We see medical cannabis as central to GPs, particularly in regional areas, due to the lack of specialist in rural communities,” she said.
“We’d love to to see GPs own the space and get involved. At the end of the day, it’s all about meeting patients’ needs.”
The course will be held on Saturday, September 22, at the Powerhouse Hotel. Doctors can register through the Primary Health Network.