Meet Dr Man, our new Palliative Care Specialist
The role of medicinal cannabis in palliative care and general medicine is an evolving field as research continues to be conducted into its effect on different symptoms and illnesses. In palliative care, early evidence shows that medicinal cannabis can help with chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, and there is some milder evidence for improving appetite and weight gain. In other settings, there have been some studies suggesting reduction in anxiety and improvement of sleep. Management of these symptoms can make a significant difference to the quality of life of patients with life limiting illness, though much more research is still required and medicinal cannabis remains an adjunct to standard medications, rather than a replacement of them. I have decided to be a prescriber of medicinal cannabis to provide patients with access to controlled, responsible and compassionate prescription of medicinal cannabis, particularly when standard medications have not worked or are causing a lot of side effects, and ideally in the setting of a clinical study to help more patients in the future.
My primary focus is for patients to be shown care and kindness, and to be empowered to make well informed treatment decisions with close follow up by their doctor. It is to support patients to the best of my ability so that their symptom burden is reduced and quality of life is improved.
Good palliative care relies a lot on support of carers, family and friends. Lockdown has made this very hard for patients who are often more separated from this support network. It increases the need for health care professionals to be supportive of patients and understand their distress, and use technology and telehealth where possible to keep up good communication with patients.
My hobbies are soccer and reading. I enjoy the privilege of supporting patients through decisions about their health and treatment. I am excited about a potential upcoming clinical study regarding medicinal cannabis in palliative care, which will help provide more data for future patients. I also hope to improve equity of medicinal cannabis access to rural patients with palliative care needs, thanks to government subsidies for specialist medical appointments for patients living in rural Australia.
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