Baldivis Family Medical Centre inundated with requests for medicinal cannabis

Receptionist Bianca Pickering with Dr Femi.
Receptionist Bianca Pickering with Dr Femi.

A BALDIVIS medical practice has been inundated with requests for medicinal cannabis after announcing its availability for suitable patients on the practice’s Facebook page on July 14.

The announcement has reached more than 70,000 people on the social media network.

Dr Olufemi Obadimeji (Dr Femi) is a GP with the Baldivis Family Medical Centre.

He said despite being anti-illicit drugs, patient suffering was the catalyst that changed his mind.

“First time I looked closely at it was through a patient with Crohn’s who requested medicinal cannabis,” he said.

“I was hesitant – due to the negative effects of cannabis in its pure form and because of the different schools of thought on it.

“But the patient had asked their specialist who agreed for an application to be submitted on their behalf.

“Around the same time I attended a product marketing seminar on medicinal cannabis.

“Doctors and specialists spoke of their experience with it, the legislation around it, its use in other countries and how it worked for pain management.”

He said due to its relationship to recreational cannabis and ‘getting high’, the government had put in safeguards to ensure it was not abused.

“I have had four requests for it so far,” Dr Femi said.

“One patient smokes cannabis for mild back pain and insomnia and wanted a legal way to procure it.

“His story did not match what I would have expected for a genuine case for medicinal cannabis so I did not investigate it further.

“Another patient had terminal bowel cancer and is in terrible pain.

“She needs quality of life to spend the rest of her time with her children and husband so she can live peacefully.

“Two other patients – a child with constant headaches, twitches and fainting from brain lesions and another patient with chronic pain syndrome and inflammatory spondylitis – are also genuine cases for medicinal cannabis.”

Dr Femi said there were layers to the process.

“First the patient must ask me and already be under treatment for their condition by a specialist in that particular field,” he said.

“I will listen to their case and if they could benefit then I will discuss it with their specialist.

“If the specialist agrees that it will help, then there are discussions with the WA Health Department before I apply to the Federal Government in Canberra on the patients behalf.”

“Hence even though I apply for a patient the final approval lies with the panel of doctors in Canberra.”