Australia’s veterans present with unique healthcare needs, and when it comes to pain and discomfort from skin conditions, it’s important to look at all the treatment options available.
We know that self-medicating with plant-based medicine occurs in Australia and within the veteran population. There can be risks of using any medicines, including plant-based products, without a doctor’s monitoring and it is of maximum importance that veterans can access quality, medically prescribed treatments, whatever they may be, where appropriate.
Does the DVA cover plant-based medicine for skin conditions?
For many vets suffering from ongoing skin conditions, the pain can go beyond skin deep. Some skin conditions can also cause painful symptoms in the joints and bones. The Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) will consider covering eligible veterans for plant-based therapies, if deemed medically appropriate by a doctor.
CA Clinics supports veterans through the entire process. Our medical professionals including doctors and nurse practitioners manage initial screening and assessment of suitability, develop an appropriate treatment plan, prepare and apply for all regulatory approvals and DVA funding application where applicable. Ongoing monitoring, adjustments and regular support ensure vets are supervised throughout their treatment.
Is there a connection between skin and plant-based therapies?
Plant-based therapy can influence biological processes, and this treatment interacts with a little-known part of the body known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
The Endocannabinoid System is integral to many processes in the immune system; when it comes to skin conditions there is a strong link between the skin and the immune system. And some skin conditions are considered autoimmune conditions.
Early research suggests that by enhancing aspects of the Endocannabinoid System with cannabinoid-based plant medicine, it may be possible to reduce the hyperproliferation of skin cells, a key mechanism associated with certain skin conditions.
Furthermore, the Endocannabinoid System has a role to play in terms of pain management. By targeting the Endocannabinoid System it may be possible to help reduce pain associated with certain skin conditions which can cause debilitating pain. For some patients though, there may be no pain reduction while using such plant-based therapy.
Pain management and plant-based therapy
When areas like the face, hands and feet are affected, these conditions can cause pain and negatively impact physical and mental health, as well as social engagement.
There is limited evidence in this arena: some small trials have tried to assess whether cannabinoid treatments may extend remission time in between flare-ups and perhaps reduce the severity of pain.
Research on skin and plant-based therapy
Emerging research shows results that warrant further exploration, around various skin conditions and plant-based treatment when taken internally or applied topically. Different compounds in plants can have anti-inflammatory properties and potentially potential pain-relieving action for the skin.
Research is limited in many of these areas; however clinical feedback from dermatologists is creating calls for more research.
- Skin grafts: Skin graft vs host disease is a common concern for people needing skin grafts. Plant-based medicine has been researched for whether or not it can reduce the incidence of this serious medical complication.
Australian service women and men are exposed to all sorts of circumstances. Extreme climatic conditions, traumatic events and injuries during active service can result in chronically painful conditions where the DVA might consider covering medical expenses.
DVA health program
CA Clinics has expanded our team to include DVA health specialists to navigate applications and approval processes for veteran patients who seek treatment options, and who may be eligible for DVA funding for their treatment.
For skin problems and other conditions that cause pain and when other medications have been unsuccessful, speak with your regular GP or enquire with CA Clinics to learn more.
Jessica Kindynis BHSc Nat
Medicinal cannabis products are unapproved therapeutic goods, which means they have not been assessed by the TGA for safety, quality or effectiveness. However, where clinically appropriate, there are pathways for doctors to access medicinal cannabis products for their patients. Note that medicinal cannabis does not have therapeutic effects for all patients and may not be medically appropriate for you or your condition. It is always important to check with your doctor before considering medicinal cannabis as a treatment option for you, especially if you are already taking other medications. as some patients may experience side effects. None of the content here is an encouragement or inducement to try or use medicinal cannabis, and is for educational and informational purposes only.