What Role Can Medical Cannabis Play In Addressing The Mental Health Repercussions Of The Pandemic? Hint: A Big One!

By: Tommy Huppert – CEO, Founder at Cannatrek

A few years back I met a first responder at an international trauma conference. The meeting stuck with me for the simple fact that when I told him what industry I was in, he responded “I wish I could use cannabis to help manage my stress, but first responders get drug tested, so it’s not an option. I could lose my job.”

I recall this encounter as I contemplate the many people affected by the repercussions of the COVID pandemic, together with the ongoing lockdown situation in Melbourne, Australia – those suffering from stress, anxiety, diminished health and mental wellbeing. Health workers and first responders are most obviously the front line, but they’re not alone. In this pandemic, our collective front line includes education, transport, essential service and logistical workers. Some of us are in lockdown at home and others are working double-overtime. We have all been stretched beyond our limits one way or another, as we wade through our first worldwide pandemic.

Psychological support workers have been inundated. As has Cannatrek’s hotline. The rise in stress levels, depression, anxiety, sleeplessness is very real and recognised. International experience reveals that the COVID 19 virus can have negative health aftereffects for many people, now known as long COVID.

I’ve heard a lot about the problems, from lowered productivity to increased hospitalisations.

I haven’t heard enough about the solutions.

The problem doesn’t simply disappear when physical freedoms return.  Vaccinations are no cure for the psychological effects of the hidden traumas being experienced which can appear at any time. Long COVID is a condition that we are only beginning to understand.

In the absence of a road map for managing the longer-term psychological and mental health implications of the COVID pandemic, I want to step forward on behalf of the cannabis industry to offer some hope. Medical cannabis companies provide regulated products available and authorised for therapeutic use. Medical Cannabis can legally be prescribed by any doctor in Australia for eligible patients. 

A good night’s sleep goes a long way to mitigate stress and anxiety in many people’s lives.

With increasing real-world evidence, such as that being collected through the Cannatrek personal monitoring app about to be launched, our knowledge on how best to individualise cannabis treatment is being refined. We have resources at our fingertips.

I’m looking forward, as much as the next person, to ending the lockdowns. But there is bigger problem at hand. Let’s not wait until after the direct health crisis has waned to start remedying the secondary fallout of the pandemic on people’s health and wellbeing.

My company and many others are ready and waiting to assist doctors, patients and governments in managing immediate and longer-term consequences of this pandemic on people’s wellbeing using our knowledge of cannabis therapy.

The medicinal cannabis industry is right here, sitting on the bench, waiting to be called up. So to all Australian healthcare professionals out there – put us on the field. We’re built for this.