More than 2,200 Australians visited medical cannabis clinics during July and August, a record number, according to figures released by the Commonwealth Department of Health.
The figures show a 10 per cent increase in visits, with the number of people visiting more than double in the last 12 months.
It’s also the highest number of visitors in six months.
“The numbers have been phenomenal in terms of people coming through the door, the number coming in and out of the clinic,” Dr Bruce Smith, Chief Medical Officer of Health, told ABC Radio Melbourne.
A total of 8.3 million Australians used medical cannabis in the month of July, the highest figure since April 2016. “
And we are very grateful to our partners who have been able to provide the health and support services and support the medical marijuana users who have come through.”
A total of 8.3 million Australians used medical cannabis in the month of July, the highest figure since April 2016.
That number jumped to 12.6 million by the end of August.
The latest figures show people are more likely to visit cannabis clinics when the season is warm and dry, with an average of more than 200 visits a day.
“When the temperature is warm, people are willing to visit, even when the temperature has dropped,” Dr Smith said.
“People who have a medical condition, who are at risk, or have a family member with a medical problem, are also more likely than not to come to our clinics to have a cannabis check up.”
A key issue that doctors face during the peak season is how to cope with the rising number of cannabis patients.
In July, more than 700 people were taken to hospital for cannabis related injuries, up from fewer than 100 in June.
A further 1,100 people had cannabis related illnesses and almost 1,000 were treated for other medical conditions.
The number of incidents has dropped since then, with just over 100 incidents reported in August, compared with more than 800 in July.
Dr Smith hopes the increase in medical cannabis visits will continue, despite the high number of Australians using the drugs.
“What is clear is that we have had a good number of patients who have had their conditions and have had medical conditions that require more intensive treatment than what we would have seen in a month or two,” he said.