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Introduction: Welcome to AODstats, the Victorian alcohol and drug interactive statistics and mapping webpage.
AODstats provides information on the harms related to alcohol, illicit and pharmaceutical drug use in Victoria.

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Rachel Worsley

30th May 2017

None of WA’s 10,679 doctors have applied to prescribe medical cannabis since it was legalized in November.

According to the AMA WA, the lack of interest is because doctors do not believe there is evidence to prescribe medical cannabis for anything other than in paediatric epilepsy and MS.

https://www.australiandoctor.com.au/news/latest-news/wa-doctors-shun-medical-cannabis

AMA cautious about medicinal cannabis

But the Australian Medical Association of WA said it remained cautious about the use of medicinal cannabis.

AMA WA president Omar Khorshid said it was important rules around the use of medicinal cannabis remained strict, as its efficacy was still being tested.

"The AMA is certainly not supportive of shortcuts, and instead of avoiding all the regulatory steps, we should be investigating cannabis-based products, how good they are, how safe they are, and once that's been done, they should available just like any other drug," he said.

"The AMA is calling for more research on cannabis-based drugs so that we know what's in them, how well they work, and how safe they are, and once that's done, we'll be able to prescribe to prescribe better drugs for patients to manage these conditions."

Ms Neville said there was international research to show cannabinoid-based products were safe and efficient.

The Department of Health said an application was yet to be received from Ms Neville's doctor, and the department had contacted this doctor to provide information and regulatory assistance.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-07/families-struggling-to-access-to-medicinal-cannabis/8685712

Abstract

We report the cases of two young German male patients with treatment-resistant Tourette syndrome (TS), who suffer from incapacitating stuttering-like speech disfluencies caused by vocal blocking tics and palilalia. Case 1: a 19-year old patient received medical cannabis at a dose of 1 × 0.1 g cannabis daily. Case 2: a 16-year old patient initially received dronabinol at a maximum dose of 22.4-33.6 mg daily. Both treatments provided significant symptom improvement of vocal blocking tics as well as of comorbid conditions and were well tolerated. Thus, cannabis-based medicine appears to be effective in treatment-resistant TS patients with vocal blocking tics.

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21 July 2017

University of Queensland researchers are concerned the recent legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Australia may give rise to super-potent cannabis concentrates with associated harmful effects.

UQ Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research’s Dr Gary Chan, who led the butane hash oil study, said a significant proportion of cannabis users used the concentrate.

“Butane hash oil is a cannabis concentrate that is over 10 times more potent than herbal cannabis,” Dr Chan said.

“Although users were more likely to report medical use, the use of butane hash oil was associated with high levels of depression, anxiety disorder and other illicit substance use.

“These results were consistent globally.”

The research was based on data from the Global Drug Survey, the world’s largest drug survey that collects data about drug users.

The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of butane hash oil can be as high as 80 per cent. In comparison, the THC content in herbal cannabis is approximately 9-15 per cent, depending on the method of cultivation.

Butane hash oil is produced by solvent extraction (maceration, infusion or percolation) of marijuana or hashish.

After filtering and evaporating the solvent, a sticky resinous dark liquid with a strong herbal odour remains.

Dr Chan said there had been a rise of butane hash oil use in the United States, and considered it to be an unexpected by-product of cannabis legalisation.

“The production and promotion of hyper-potent cannabis concentrates with 70 to 80 per cent THC now account for 20 per cent of the markets in Washington and Colorado, and use of these hyper-potent products seem to be gaining popularity in Canada,” he said.

“Given that Australia has recently legalised medical cannabis use, surveillance needs to take note of any rise in the use of concentrates because it can be produced with relatively simple equipment that is easily accessible.

“However, at this stage there is no evidence for medical use of butane hash oil for any health condition.”

The study is published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal.

for more

Uncovering the therapeutic potential of CBD

New research paves the way for a new schizophrenia treatment, by testing the effect of a cannabis compound on rats. The study suggests that the cannabis-derived substance may improve schizophrenia-specific cognitive impairment, with none of the side effects that current medication has…CBD can affect learning, memory, and attention, which suggests that the compound could help manage cognitive symptoms more effectively and with fewer side effects than widely available medication.

The researchers - led by Dr. Katrina Green from the University of Wollongong, Australia - first discovered the therapeutic value of CBD when they previously conducted a review of 27 studies.

"From this review, we found that CBD will not improve learning and memory in healthy brains, but may improve aspects of learning and memory in illnesses associated with cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer's disease, as well as neurological and neuro-inflammatory disorders," explains Dr. Green.

"Evidence suggests that CBD is neuroprotective and can reduce cognitive impairment associated with use of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis," Dr. Green adds.

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13 May 2017

‘’False hope’’ driving claims medicinal cannabis is ‘’magic pill’’ for chronic pain relief.

Prescribing medicinal cannabis for patients with chronic non-cancer pain is not going to revolutionise their treatment and should not be supported until there is substantial proof of its effectiveness, according to a leading pain specialist.

Professor Milton Cohen is presenting Medicinal cannabis for chronic non-cancer pain: promise or pothole? at the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) annual scientific meeting in Brisbane on Saturday May 13.
“There is no reason to be enthusiastic about cannabinoids in the treatment of non-cancer related chronic pain,’’ Professor Cohen said.

‘‘On the basis of what we know about cannabis as a treatment it’s not going to revolutionise the field of chronic pain management.’’

Professor Cohen is a specialist pain medicine physician in Sydney and Director of Professional Affairs for ANZCA’s Faculty of Pain Medicine. The Faculty does not support the use of cannabinoids in chronic non-cancer pain ‘’until such time as a clear therapeutic role for them is identified in the scientific literature.’’

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