Medical marijuana training now available on Coast
A COAST GP clinic that has prescribed medical marijuana to more than 200 patients has teamed up with an education company to create the region's first cannabis centre and teach other GPs how to prescribe the drug.
Medwell Medical and Wellness Clinic in Caloundra opened late last year.
It was born out of a desire to change the way healthcare was delivered on the Sunshine Coast and developed three main points of culture: empathy, team and community.
Clinic director Dr Kiran Varma said they wanted to be known as a "clinic for good".
Not only have they connected with charities like Bloomhill and Comunite'z, but they've also adapted their services to include assisting medical professionals and patients alike in navigating the regulatory pathway for prescribing cannabinoid products in Australia.
Medwell partnered with medical education company The Cannabis Centre to help deliver this service.
"In the early days while we designed the blueprint for the clinic, we started to think about, if we were to do something spectacular, what would it be?," Dr Varma said.
"We started looking at ways we could get out of our own perspective and seeing the world through different eyes.
"This allowed us to go deeper with our work as a medical clinic.
"We believe empathy is a teachable, learnable skill and we have endeavoured to upskill all team members in this critical skill."
Dr Varma said it was during this introspective and reflective work that Medwell decided to start offering medicinal cannabis education for healthcare professionals as an add-on service.
"Working with The Cannabis Centre has been an opportunity for us to fast track this goal of ultimately upskilling key healthcare professionals in being able to offer an additional option for the treatment of chronic pain and other conditions," he said.
"Being able to provide this education in the upcoming future at Medwell, so that more patients indirectly could have access to another option for their chronic conditions, has been an exciting venture for us."
Dr Varma, who has been prescribing the drug for two years, said they worked with patients who suffered from chronic pain, which affects motre than three million people in Australia.
He said they have a very stringent application process for patients that depended on many factors.
"It is generally when patients have exhausted all other options when dealing with chronic pain, anxiety, cancer pain, insomnia, migraine disorders, neuropathic pain, PTSD and so many more," he said.
The Cannabis Centre already has education hubs from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast and also in New Zealand.
Operations manager Nicholas Quinn said the Sunshine Coast formed an integral part of the expansion of their program as the Sunshine Coast Council had been supportive of the growth of the medicinal cannabis industry "as a whole in the community".
"Our working relationship with Medwell Clinic sees two progressive companies coming together to ensure that the region has affordable access to premium health services, including informed consultations for medicinal cannabis," he said.
The Cannabis Centre Program will deliver RACGP accredited and clinic specific training to medical practitioners and allied health professionals across the Tasman region.