Opioids kill 3 Aussies a day – while fewer than 5% of doctors prescribe medical cannabis

MELBOURNE, Australia, Feb. 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — A recent survey by Alternaleaf, Australia’s largest medical cannabis clinic, has revealed that 80% of Australian patients want more doctors to prescribe medical cannabis.

An estimated 5% of Australian doctors prescribe medical cannabis[1] – even though Alternaleaf survey data has found that 62% of patients stopped taking other pain medication after starting medical cannabis treatment[2]

Though recent statistics indicate that three people a day die from drug-induced deaths involving opioid use[3], many Alternaleaf patients found that their general practitioners were unwilling to even discuss the prospect of prescribing medical cannabis. 

“My doctor told me he wouldn’t prescribe it,” said Mei*. 

“He refused to even say the word.” 

For Hunter*, the journey to finding a viable form of pain relief has been harder than most. 

“I have a high tolerance to opioids after being on them for twenty years to treat my chronic pain,” he explained. 

“My doctor recommended opioid pain relief alongside my antidepressants, but all it did was make me put on weight, which made my chronic pain worse. When I tried talking to several doctors about medical cannabis as an option, all they did was shrug off my suggestions and suggest a different opioid. 

“Since being on medical cannabis, I don’t use my opioids as much, and I’m not seeing a doctor every two weeks for a new script – I also don’t get side effects from it.”

Rhys Staley, Vice President of Montu, the parent company of Alternaleaf, has urged doctors to consider prescribing medical cannabis to eligible patients. 

“Every day, Alternaleaf doctors see patients who have benefited from making the switch to medical cannabis,” Staley said.

“If more doctors were as comfortable prescribing medical cannabis as they are opioid and other pharmaceutical medication for pain relief, Australian patients wouldn’t have to suffer unnecessarily when looking for alternatives. 

“Clinical education should encompass the full range of pain relief medication, so that medical professionals can offer an array of treatment options to find the best fit for their patients’ needs.” 

For more information, visit montu.com.au.

*Patient names changed for privacy reasons.

About Alternaleaf
Alternaleaf is Australia’s largest medical cannabis clinic, trusted by more than 100,000 Australians. Connecting patients with highly trained nurses and doctors through an innovative telehealth system, Alternaleaf prides itself on its easy-to-use and empathetic clinical experience.

About Montu

Founded in 2019, Montu is Australia’s leading medical cannabis company. Across a rapidly growing ecosystem, Montu is using technology to improve the medical cannabis patient experience, from delivering best-in-class clinical care, to our industry-leading product lines and innovative supply chain management tools. Our mission: to make medical cannabis more affordable and accessible for the millions who could benefit.


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Maggie Kerr – Communications Advisor
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[1] Comparison of SAS-B TGA Authorised Prescriber and Department of Health and Aged Care data
[2] Data compiled from more than 3000 Alternleaf patient responses to an August 2023 survey about chronic pain
[3] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare


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