Self-management is very important when someone is suffering from a chronic condition, especially persistent pain. Through The Pain Toolkit, Pete Moore explains how a patient can manage persistent pain by using various “tools” such as pacing activities, exercise, relaxation, etc. During these workshops, we will go over these tools and how important they are to control one’s symptoms. Optimal self-management ultimately means a better quality of life and less visits to the doctor.
Cannabis-based medicines are just another “tool” which can help patients suffering from a chronic condition to manage their symptoms better. Using cannabinoids as medicine is a new area and many patients are not aware of how this medicine can help their condition, the possible side effects and how to get the most out of their medicine. The aim of these workshops is for patients to learn more about this new medicine and how they can use it as a tool to help them manage their chronic condition.
Workshops take place every two weeks in the waiting room at The Pain Clinic in Paola. The room caters for 10 persons who can book the class weeks in advance. Once the group of 10 patients has been formed, patients are asked to send their queries and any difficulties they wish to clarify. A small presentation is prepared based on the patients’ requirements and any relevant research is included to back up the discussion.
After the presentation, a discussion is started where patients exchange ideas, opinions and queries and any misconceptions are clarified. Patients are advised on how to use their medicine to obtain the maximum efficacy with the least side effects. Follow-up and support by email is offered for persons with any further difficulties after the workshop.
What is Kannatalim?
Kannatalim is an initiative created by Dr Andrew Agius to educate patients about using cannabis as medicine. The aim was to prepare patients for when this medicine becomes available in February 2018 and to reduce the stigma associated with cannabis. Kannatalim lectured started on first September 2016 with “Introduction: The Need for Cannabis Education in Malta”. Each week, Dr Andrew would choose a different topic to discuss and a presentation was delivered, including the latest research available on the topic to back up the discussion. Lectures were delivered in Maltese or in English, in order to target a large number of patients.
During these lectures, Dr Andrew talked about the endocannabinoid system and discussed the evidence available for the use of cannabinoids in chronic pain, schizophrenia and drug addiction. He explained that although the scientific evidence is still relatively weak, the use of cannabinoids is very promising, especially since most preparations are very well-tolerated. One lecture entitled “What is CBD?” was specifically designed to clarify any misconceptions about CBD and explain how this can be used safely to manage various common ailments. For this talk, a patient who had been using CBD to treat this condition talked about his experience.
Unfortunately, when the fifth lecture “The Use of Cannabinoids in Cancer” was being planned, Dr Andrew was asked to stop giving these public lectures because they were being viewed as self-advertising. He was also accused of spreading misinformation about the use of cannabinoids in cancer since the evidence for its anti-cancer activity was still too weak for it to be used in patients with terminal illnesses.
Kannatalim (Cannabis Education) is now included in the Patient Workshops described above when the patients attending are using cannabinoids to manage their condition. If you wish to learn more about cannabis as medicine, feel free to follow our Facebook page or Contact us for more information.