ABC News interviewed a patient treated with medical cannabis for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
Cannabis for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome makes life worth living for ACT resident Sue Curry.
Currently there is no sure fire pharmacological treatment for ME, as the medical fraternity doesn’t fully understand the condition.
Sue has lived with the debilitating condition for years, and describes it as having flu plus concussion and multiple sclerosis. She suffers from constant fatigue, gets ill frequently and experience ever-changing symptoms.
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ME patients become isolated
When a patient is hit severely by ME you won’t see them anymore, explains Ms Curry. Her symptoms got worse over decades, and she becomes bed-bound.
After Ms Curry discovered the unlikely treatment of medical cannabis for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, her condition improved dramatically. She says the drug has changed her life. Before she started the medical cannabis she felt life is not worth living and she was quite happy to end it.
She says that she is “not there anymore”, she can speak out and talk to people, her life has become worth living since she started the treatment.
The new medical cannabis scheme
The announcement by the ACT Government to put a new medical cannabis scheme in place followed the decision made by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to reschedule cannabis from a prohibited substance to a controlled drug.
The scheme will provide guidelines for prescription, administration, use and distribution of medical cannabis. This comes after the Commonwealth cannabis cultivation scheme paved the way to provide medical cannabis to children with severe epilepsy in New South Wales.
ACT Assistant Health Minister Megan Fitzharris said there comes a time when a decision must be taken after inquiries and investigations are done. The framework provides ACT with the opportunity to implement clear regulations that protect patients’ and public health.
Experts urge caution
Australian Medical Association’s ACT President, Steve Robson, urged that the issue should be approached with caution, regardless of the powerful endorsement of patients and politicians. He said medical cannabis is a “sexy” issue to engage with for the government, but his association’s priority is to make sure it is conducted in an appropriate way.
Professor Robson continued by saying there is confirmation that medicinal cannabis could be helpful to patients, but there are still uncertainties. A lot more solid evidence is needed as a guideline.
He said everyone is keen to help patients and help people get better, but at the moment no one is really sure what they are doing.
Cannabis for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Medicinal cannabis is only available through trials and special access schemes, otherwise it is still illegal under federal government although legislation was passed earlier this year legalizing the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use.
Patients looking into medical cannabis for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome would have to speak to their doctor, as different legislation applies to different states. At this stage there is so much change on the medical cannabis front globally that each patient might find that their situation could be considered and assessed in a unique way.