Western Australian GP Matty Moore appeared on Tim Wong-See’s Great Southern Breakfast show earlier this week, arguing that there are steps Australia needs to take before legalising recreational cannabis
First, Moore believes the number of studies proving the safety and effectiveness of over-the-counter CBD oil needs to increase. While there is some data on CBD oil, access was previously so limited that we lack large-scale clinical data.
This lack of data is currently restricting people’s access to CBD oil, as although CBD oil is now a Schedule 3 drug, there are no CBD products currently approved for pharmacy shelves. The first over-the-counter CBD oils are likely still a year away, according to Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Helen O’Byrne.
Next, Moore believes the dosage of THC (cannabis’s primary psychoactive component) in cannabis medications needs to be standardised “so people can drive”.
Many countries that have legalised recreational cannabis (like Canada) have introduced restrictions around the amount of THC in cannabis to improve road safety. If Australia were to introduce similar restrictions, medical cannabis patients could drive, and THC restrictions could be used to mitigate the risks of driving while on cannabis.
Although getting too high on cannabis won’t kill you, research shows that limiting THC in cannabis reduces its negative effects on decision-making, reaction times, and cognitive functioning. However, THC limits could be a thing of the past thanks to these scientists.
Finally, Moore believes we need to improve “medicinal cannabis access for our DVA patients with PTSD”. While Australian veterans are given subsidised access to other medicinal cannabis for other conditions, the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) has refused to subsidise access for people suffering from mental health conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
While he feels recreational cannabis is still a few years away, Dr Moore says Australia is “opening up” to it.
I think it’s opening up… I think at some point in the next few years – my guess is around five years or so – it may be legal to use recreational cannabis.
He isn’t wrong, either. Data from the Government’s 2019 Household Drugs Survey shows that 41% of the population support cannabis legalisation. That’s up from 35.4% in 2016.
If you’d like to listen to the interview yourself, you can find it on the ABC’s website here.