How Medical Cannabis can unlock a higher quality of life for seniors
A word from Ron Lipsky, Manager of Business Development and International Relations at MGC Pharmaceuticals
While we spend a lot of time discussing the advantages of Medical Cannabis to Australia as a whole, there are specific age groups and demographics that stand to benefit the most from unrestricted access — namely Australia’s aging population.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of people aged 65 years or older is expected to exceed the number of children aged 14 and below by as soon as 2030. Though it’s a testament to medical, surgical and general health-related advancements that our seniors are living longer, the reality is that their dependence on opioids is more prevalent and dangerous than ever.
While at home in Australia, the Medical Cannabis industry is still working hard to gather more evidence-based research to substantiate treatment assertions, relevant studies are already occurring overseas. A recent Hawaii-based study of 2,736 patients above the age of 65 found that, after six months, 93.7% of respondents who received Medical Cannabis treatment reported improvement in their condition and significant reductions to pain levels.
What’s more encouraging is that after a period of six months of using Medical Cannabis,18.1% stopped using opioid analgesics or were able to reduce their dose. The study concluded that the “therapeutic use of cannabis is safe and efficacious in the elderly population”.
On our own soil, the awareness of Medical Cannabis’ potential to improve the quality of life for Australian seniors is growing. An increasing number of older people are seeking the treatment for conditions such as inflammatory arthritis, autoimmune disease and chronic pain. Unfortunately, the regulatory process is fraught with bottlenecks, with no more than 500 Australians having legal access to Medical Cannabis. Understandably, no major regulatory or medical progress can be made without significant evidence. Bill Boyd, President of the Australian Medical Association, explained that it was important for legislation to proceed incrementally in line with medical research,
“[It is] like every other medication which may be destined to be released. It has to be done properly… Clearly huge strides have been taken towards possible use of this agent as a medication, but until such time as we are all satisfied that it is safe to use … then it will remain under very restricted release.”
It’s heartening to see the release of more and more evidence-based global research surrounding Medical Cannabis-based treatment. MGC Pharmaceuticals is committed to furthering the awareness of Cannabis’ treatment benefits, and we only hope that with greater investment in R&D on our own soil, one day soon our own medical system can provide the pain relief our growing population deserves.