DVA & Skin Condition Pain

Australia’s veterans present with unique healthcare needs, and when it comes to chronic pain and discomfort from skin conditions, medicinal cannabis may be an option to discuss with your GP or CA Clinics doctor.

We know that green market cannabis is rampant in Australia and within the veteran population. There are many risks of using cannabis-based products without a doctor’s monitoring and it is of maximum importance that veterans can access quality, medically prescribed cannabis where appropriate.

Does the DVA cover medical cannabis for skin conditions?

For many vets suffering from ongoing skin conditions, the pain can go beyond skin deep. Some skin conditions like psoriatic arthritis can also cause painful symptoms in the joints and bones.

When pain becomes chronic, the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) will consider covering eligible veterans for medical cannabis therapies. 

CA Clinics supports veterans through the entire medical cannabis process. Our dedicated medical professionals manage initial screening and assessment of suitability, develop an appropriate treatment plan, prepare and apply for all regulatory approvals. Ongoing monitoring, adjustments to treatment and regular support ensure vets are safe and supervised throughout their medical cannabis treatment.

Understanding the connection between skin and medical cannabis

Medical cannabis therapy can influence many biological processes, particularly this plant-based treatment interacts with an amazing and 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. In conditions like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, which are autoimmune conditions, medicinal cannabinoid therapy may have a role to play.

Early research suggests that by enhancing aspects of the endocannabinoid system with medical cannabis, it may be possible to reduce the hyperproliferation of skin cells, a key mechanism associated with psoriasis.

Furthermore, the endocannabinoid system has a big role to play in terms of chronic pain. By targeting the endocannabinoid system it may be possible to help reduce pain associated with conditions like scleroderma or psoriatic arthritis – both of which can cause debilitating and chronic pain. 

Dermatitis, eczema and medical cannabis

When skin conditions like dermatitis or eczema become chronic they can cause significant distress and ongoing pain. When areas like the face, hands and feet are affected these conditions can cause chronic pain and negatively impact physical and mental health, as well as social engagement.

There is limited evidence in this arena. But according to some small trials, cannabinoid treatments may extend remission time in between flare-ups and perhaps reduce the severity of pain in chronic eczema or dermatitis.

Other skin conditions and medicinal cannabis

Emerging research shows intriguing results around various skin conditions and medical cannabis when taken internally or applied topically. Different compounds in the cannabis plant 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 momentum for more research.

  • Skin grafts: Skin graft vs host disease is a common concern for people needing skin grafts. Some evidence points to CBD oil reducing the incidence of this serious medical complication.
  • Rosacea: There has been no formal research into rosacea and cannabinoids but anecdotes abound, indicating medical cannabis or CBD oil therapy may be helpful in reducing discomfort and inflammation that comes with rosacea.
  • Skin cancers: conflicting evidence exists around the potential of cannabinoids and skin cancers. Some animal studies indicate cannabinoids could reduce tumour growth, while other studies showcase contrasting effects. Research into cannabinoids and cancer is growing rapidly, watch this space!

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 conditions where the DVA might cover medical expenses. 

Putting veterans at the forefront of treatment 

CA Clinics has expanded our team to include DVA health specialists with the expertise to navigate applications and approval processes for veteran patients who seek DVA funding for their treatment.

For skin problems and other conditions, medical cannabis could be a helpful adjunct treatment when chronic pain is present and other medications have been unsuccessful. Speak with your regular GP or enquire with CA Clinics about medical cannabis treatment pathways.

Jessica Kindynis BHSc Nat

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