WITH a growing number of opioid overdoses, often from prescription painkillers, Lucy Haslam is advocating for medical cannabis to be used as a safe alternative.
Recently, The Leader reported drug overdoses have more than tripled in the Tamworth region and doubled in the Armidale area during the past decade. Opioids were the main offender.
Mrs Haslam said in the United States, where opioid overdoses have become an increasingly prominent problem, medical cannabis was often used as a safer alternative to traditional pain medication.
Lucy Haslam is a Tamworth advocate and mother who has campaigned for the legalisation of medical cannabis after her son, Dan, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Dan passed away in 2015, but his story sparked a national conversation about medicinal cannabis use.
It is almost physically impossible to overdoes on cannabis because of the massive quantity you would have to consume.Lucy Haslam
“90 per cent of medical cannabis is used to treat chronic pain,” Mrs Haslam said.
“The statistics are starting to reflect that, there is a strong correlation in the reduction of deaths from opioid overdoes in states where medical cannabis, or cannabis in general, has been legalised.
“People who overdoes on opioids stop breathing. Cannabis doesn’t affect your respiratory system.
“It is almost physically impossible to overdoes on cannabis because of the massive quantity you would have to consume. It is quite literally hundreds of pounds.
“At most you would get a very unpleasant experience.”
Mrs Haslam said medical cannabis also had fewer side effects than opioids.
“Patients talk about how cannabis makes them feel more in control than heavy doses of opiods, which do effect thinking and mood.”
Despite the large amount of evidence, Mrs Haslam said many doctors were still hesitant to prescribe medical cannabis.
“It’s another example of the double standards around cannabis – opioids are widely and readily prescribed,” she said.
“But there is now a feeling that cannabis is an exit drug, not a gateway drug.”
So far, about 50 medical professionals have signed up to the free course, which will be held at the Powerhouse Hotel on Saturday, September 22.