From Little Acorns: Oz Cannabis Clinicians Society To Get Underway

9th August 2017: ....And GP blasts this country's poor access to MC


Around sixty healthcare professionals from across the country have placed themselves on a list of individuals aiming to found an Australian Chapter of the US-based Society of Cannabis Clinicians.

According to its Wikipedia page the Society is a ‘non-profit organisation dedicated to educating physicians about the medical use of cannabis. Its mission is to unite into one association members of the various medical specialities and allied professionals with this common purpose.’

The database of would-be Australian members – many of whom attended one of the two UIC Medical Cannabis Courses run thus far by Dr David Caldicott in, respectively, Melbourne and Adelaide – is now with the Society’s Executive Directors.

Dr Jeffrey Hergenrather, a senior SCC member and renowned medicinal cannabis health practitioner, is currently liaising between the main organisation and UIC’s Lucy Haslam who is care-taking the project here.

Among those signed up to join is NSW-based GP Dr Teresa Towpik, who runs the Medihuanna website set up to encourage Australian ‘doctors in the field of medical cannabis’.

Her reputation is one that grows rapidly as one of the few doctors in Australia displaying leadership and courage in an area fraught with political discord. While most medics choose to lay low over this, the most thorny of subjects, Dr Towpik by contrast is highly outspoken and critical of establishment hostility.

Her latest adventure – a letter to RACGP President Bastian Seidel is, she says, intended ‘to get the word out there and start a discussion about medical cannabis.’

In it she argues ‘the current situation with legalisation is confusing, convoluted and very frustrating. It is very difficult to jump through TGA hoops and loops and this excessive red tape is blocking patient’s access’ and calls for ‘a system between ethical growers, producers, pharmacists and doctors so we know exactly what we are using‘.

I believe that unfortunately our attitudes fuel and support the black market, dishonest dealers and products of inferior quality,’ she goes on, citing former US DEA legal eagle Francis Young who, in 1988 said ‘Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man‘ and ‘By any measure of rational analysis..can be safely used within supervised medical care. To deny marijuana to patients who need it would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.’

Dr Seidel attended UIC’s recent Symposium in Melbourne and made some encouraging noises calling for n of 1 cannabis trials. These, he said, could ‘generate evidence as we go along’ but has since gone quiet on the matter.

Dr Towpik’s communication, it is hoped, might galvanise Seidel and his organisation into action – with their main competitor the AMA so virulently opposed to the medical use of cannabis, the College might yet fill a void.

As well as the aforementioned letter, Dr Towpik has also been busy blogging and her posts will now be reproduced by this site. The first two are on this page and the third, published this week, is here.  They make an excellent read from someone you just know is set to make quite an impression.





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