Queensland talking medical marijuana
THE use of medicinal cannabis for treating epilepsy will be explored at a forum in the city this month.
It is being organised by the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics (The University of Sydney) and Epilepsy Action Australia and will be held at the Aitkenvale Library on November 14.
The forum will explore up-to-date information for people interested in cannabis for epilepsy, examine studies indicating how it may be effective for epilepsy sufferers and discuss ways to legally access the product.
CEO of Epilepsy Action Australia Carol Ireland and research officer from The Lambert Initiative Ruth Blackburn will present the information.
Ms Blackburn said Townsville had been missing out on opportunities other parents and carers in the metropolitan areas had been given.
"We want to engage with families up north so they can get updates about medicinal cannabis too," she said.
In May, Epilepsy Action Australia conducted a nationwide online survey seeking opinions and experiences of the use of cannabis-based products for the treatment of epilepsy.
Results showed 15 per cent of adults with epilepsy and 13 per cent of parents/guardians of children with epilepsy were currently using or had previously used cannabis products to treat the illness.
In Queensland, the Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Act 2016 started on March 1, naming epilepsy as one of the conditions where you could access the drug with a doctor's prescription.
"You can only get the prescription if you have tried all other conventional medications or if the side effects are too bad to continue with current medicine," Ms Blackburn said.
"Doctors have to provide clinical evidence in their applications to show medicinal cannabis will be effective.
"There is not a whole lot of evidence available so it makes it very difficult."
Member for Herbert Cathy O'Toole supports the use of the drug for medicinal purposes and said there was plenty of evidence that showed its benefits to those suffering with epilepsy, cancers and other related illnesses.
"I think it would make a huge difference for people in terms of managing very high levels of pain," she said.
"While people are suffering they still need to be able to have the best quality of life and I think medical marijuana will do that."
Ms O'Toole said if it was going to allow people to live more pain-free and productive lives, it was something we should get on with.
All parents and families are welcome to participate in the forum on November 14 at the Aitkenvale Library from 9.30-11.30am.