Rural doctors are warning they are unprepared to prescribe medicinal cannabis, despite patients requesting access to the controversial drug.
Victoria became the first state in Australia to legalise the use of cannabis for medical purposes, with the first access given to children with serious epilepsy.
The State Government passed legislation in April to allow the supply, manufacture and access to medicinal cannabis products.
In response, Rural Doctors Association of Australia has called for more to be done to prepare general practitioners to prescribe medicinal cannabis.
RDAA president Dr Ewen McPhee said there has been confusion about what the regulations means for doctors.
“Our patients are coming and asking for this and we need to be armed with what knowledge is out there, and also be able to adequately counsel people and get beyond the hype,” he said.
“Let’s understand what this drug can and can’t do.”
Rural doctors report patients doctor shopping to get access
GPs in regional Victoria are already reporting an increase in the number of people requesting access to medicinal cannabis.
Dr David Monash from Sale, south-east of Melbourne, said people are shopping around doctors trying to find someone who will prescribe the drug.
“I’ve already had requests and I believe every doctor would have had polite inquiries as to whether its available and whether they can provide it,” Dr Monash said.
“At this point in time most of us wouldn’t be prepared, or have the knowledge, to fight a three or four month regulation system to get a drug.
“If I have a patient and they fit one of the categories, and they actually need it, you really need to send them to one of the people doing the trials.
“The governments have approved it, the politicians have approved it, but when you actually go