A professor of psychiatry has called for more debate on the use of medicinal cannabis in mental health after warning of a spike in anxiety cases triggered by Covid-19.
David Castle, a professor at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, stressed the need for Australia to “advance the science” around both cannabis and psychedelic medicine.
He revealed that Covid has sparked a wave of patients with anxiety issues, many of whom get no respite from conventional medicines.
During a discussion on mental health and cannabis at the recent Australian Symposium of Medical Cannabis, panellists spoke of a need for a personalised approach to cannabinoids and for closely monitored experimentation.
There was also a clear message not to confuse the effects of recreational cannabis on mental health with that of medicinal cannabis prescribed by health practitioners.
Speaking at the symposium, organised by the Australian Institute of Medical Cannabis, Castle said: “We absolutely have to recognise there is huge ongoing morbidity within the general population in terms of psychiatric disorder. PTSD is one and there is no doubt we are going to see that increase after Covid.
“Goodness knows how many people I am seeing who are increasingly anxious and not able to sleep at night… and for whom conventional medicines do not work.
“I’m not saying cannabis should be put in the drinking water, or is the answer for everyone, but we need to be open to this and advance the science.”