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Nurses the new frontier in medicinal cannabis

Medical Cannabis on The Rise With Nurses to Bridge the Gap Between Patient and Doctor 

Medicinal cannabis use in Australia is at an all-time high, with new data from the Therapeutic Goods Administration [TGA] showing prescriptions have doubled within the last year, with experts saying nurses are driving the new frontier.  

An estimated 247,170 approved medicinal cannabis prescriptions have been issued in Australia to date, with 50% of patients using it to treat chronic pain and another 20% using it for anxiety according to new figures released by TGA’s Medicinal Cannabis Access Data Dashboard – with more than 122,000 prescriptions written last year alone. 

Former nurse and United in Compassion founder Lucy Haslam says nurses have the responsibility of ensuring patient needs are met. 

“That puts them in the ideal position of supporting and advocating for patients who wish to access medicinal cannabis as their preferred medication,” says Ms Haslam. 

“For this, they must be educated and after years of lobbying, the major nursing bodies at State, Territory and Federal levels have now given a firm commitment to not only ensure that nurses receive the required education, but also the commitment to support patient choice of medicinal cannabis. 

“Nurses are not financially incentivised to provide a particular form of treatment. They just want what is best for their patients – it is as simple as that.” 

Ms Haslam spearheaded the movement to introduce medicinal cannabis into Australia in 2013 after witnessing the dramatic relief her son Dan, who was suffering stage 4 bowel cancer, gained from using the drug. 

Australian Nursing Midwifery Federation (ANMF) President Sally-Anne Jones says: “It is through relentless advocacy, determination, resilience, perseverance and everlasting compassion that we are finally seeing changes to legislation such as the decriminalisation of the termination of pregnancy, voluntary assisted dying and, of course, the use of medicinal cannabis.” 

The involvement of nurses is an important aspect of patient care when it comes to medicinal cannabis”, says Australian Natural Therapeutic Group (ANTG) Chief Scientific Officer Justin Sinclair.                                                                     

“They have a close relationship with patients and will naturally have those conversations which can educate them on the potential benefits and/or side effects of treatment,” he says.

“In other countries like Canada nurses are already playing a significant role in this area, and improving education around medicinal cannabis to all healthcare practitioners more generally is only going to improve safety, access and allow for more open and constructive dialogue.” 

Top 3 reasons Australians are using medicinal cannabis: 

  • Pain - 61% of prescriptions
  • Anxiety - 16% of prescriptions 
  • Sleep disorders 5.7% of prescriptions 

Up to 31 May 2022, the TGA has approved over 250,000 SAS Category B applications for unapproved medicinal cannabis products. 

About Australian Natural Therapeutics Group 

Formed in 2015, ANTG came about following  personal experiences of the founder and CEO. It now produces four strains of medicinal cannabis flower, and is about to start production of four oil combinations. It also partners with research organisations University of Newcastle and University of Western Sydney, to unlock the potential of cannabis in the fight against cancer, dementia and inflammation. For more information visit


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