“Medical cannabis confounds conventional medical thinking” – Dr Mark Wilbourn speaks

TMCC’s Dr Mark Wilbourn is a GP prescriber of medical cannabis working in the Jersey branch. He recently shared his experiences working on the island in an article for Cannabis Health. 

Opening the Jersey branch of The Medical Cannabis Clinics (TMCC) in November 2019 was a unique move in a variety of ways. Due to the geographically isolated nature of the island, there are many unusual ways of doing things, ranging from medical practice operations to how the Jersey police force works.

Dr Wilbourn shared some of his thoughts reflecting on what it’s been like to start working with patients on the island in an article for Cannabis Health, ‘OPINION: Cannabis medicines generate suspicion in doctors – until they see the results for themselves’.

Role of the pandemic

The pandemic presented a variety of challenges to medical staff, but one that Dr Wilbourn encountered had its own silver lining. Access to illegal sources of cannabis became restricted due to the lockdown, and so more people than ever came to medical clinics for help.

‘Switching from black market cannabis to properly produced medicine means quality assurance of the product, consistency of cannabinoid levels, and no risk of the cannabis being cut with toxic chemicals or contaminated with harmful pesticides and fertiliser,” notes Dr Wilbourn.

With people being more forthcoming with their symptoms and needs in Jersey, Dr Wilbourn and his colleagues have been able to break down some of the ongoing stigmas around medical cannabis. 

Whilst some GPs may still be sceptical about the use of the drug, Dr Wilbourn has seen a definite change in the reactions of fellow GPs in Jersey, even ones without direct experience or education around medical cannabis. The difference seen in the patients is also clear. 

“It is not unusual to see a pale shadow of a patient at initial appointments and bright, engaged, well people at follow up, once they have benefitted from medicinal cannabis,” writes Dr Wilbourn.

“Word of mouth is strong and it’s not unusual to see whole, adult families coming through the clinic over a number of months.”

Changing perceptions

As a result, Dr Wilbourn reports that once-sceptical GPs are actually referring patients to The Medical Cannabis Clinic. After all, it’s hard to argue with proven results and happy patients.

“Much of medicine is about treating one problem with multiple drugs, whereas cannabis-based products can treat many problems with one family of medical botanics,” explains Dr Wilbourn. 

“Their ability to do this confounds conventional medical thinking and generates suspicion in doctors until they see the results for themselves.” 

Read the full article here.