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Research_

Surveys

Surveys are a valuable method of data collection, and are incredibly useful in providing snapshots of information via questions put to a community.
We have conducted a variety of surveys that have shed light on various aspects of medical cannabis in Australia, covering both general practitioners and patients.

Our Research

Follow this link to the survey: https://redcap.sydney.edu.au/surveys/?s=D387MRCWH3 

The Cannabis as Medicine Survey (CAMS20) is open to Australians who have used cannabis for medical (therapeutic) reasons inthe past 12 months.

The online survey is anonymous and takes 15-30 minutes to complete, and participants can save their responses as they go. People 18-years and over who currently live in Australia are eligible to complete the survey.

The findings from this survey will provide insights into why Australians use medicinal cannabis, how it is being used, where it is being sourced from, and how effective people find it. Both prescribed and non-prescribed medicinal cannabis patients are encouraged to participate. Similar surveys were conducted in 2016 and 2018, and we aim to see how things have changed since the last survey.

This is a collaboration between The Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney and South East Sydney Local Health District.

Chief Investigator: Professor Nick Lintzeris (South East Sydney Local Health District)

Project Coordinator: Llew Mills (South East Sydney Local Health District)

Publication: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0001457520316043

This survey present the results from the driving-related subsection of the Cannabis as Medicine 2018-2019 Survey (CAMS18) of current Australian medical cannabis users.

Results: Of the 806 respondents who reported driving a motor vehicle in the last month, 34.6% said they typically drive within 3 hours of cannabis use, thereby risking driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC), while more than 50% waited at least 7 hours before driving. A majority of respondents thought that their medical cannabis use did not affect their driving ability, and most denied any specific effects of cannabis on speeding, risk taking, reaction time, attentiveness or lane departures. A substantial majority (70.9%) felt confident in accurately assessing their own driving ability after using medical cannabis. Binary logistic regression showed that frequency of use and confidence to assess driving ability were strongly related to DUIC behaviour (i.e. driving soon after cannabis use). These results suggest a relatively high prevalence of DUIC and low perception of risk among this sample of medical cannabis users.

This is a collaboration between The Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney and South East Sydney Local Health District.

Chief Investigator: Professor Iain McGregor (Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

Project Coordinator: Llew Mills (South East Sydney Local Health District)

Publication: https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-020-00377-0

This survey builds on the findings of CAMS16. It aims to understand the patterns of use and consumer perspectives regarding medical cannabis use in Australia, 2 years after the introduction of legal access pathways.

Results: Data were available for 1388 respondents. The main categories of condition being treated with medical cannabis were pain (36.4%), mental health (32.8%), sleep (9.2%), neurological (5.2%) and cancer (3.8%). Respondents reported using medical cannabis on 15.8 (11.2) days in the past 28, by inhaled (71.4%) or oral (26.5%) routes and spending AUD$82.27 ($101.27) per week. There were high levels of self-reported effectiveness, but also high rates of side effects. There was uncertainty regarding the composition of illicit cannabinoid products and concerns regarding their possible contamination. Few respondents (2.7%) had accessed legally prescribed medical cannabis, with the main perceived barriers being cost, disinterest from the medical profession and stigma regarding cannabis use.

This is a collaboration between The Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney and South East Sydney Local Health District.

Chief Investigator: Professor Nick Lintzeris (South East Sydney Local Health District)

Project Coordinator: Llew Mills (South East Sydney Local Health District)

Publication: https://academic.oup.com/crohnscolitis360/article/2/2/otaa045/5854634 

This survey aims to understand gastrointestinal specialist experiences and perceptions of medicinal cannabis for inflammatory bowel disease to inform policy decisions, assist in development of educational material to meet the specific needs of specialists and inform interest in participating in our clinical research.

Results: Of the 70 Australian gastroenterologists and 23 trainees who completed the survey, 39% percent reported having patients using medicinal cannabis (MC); however, only a minority supported use of MC in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (21%) or expressed a desire to prescribe (28%). Only 6% claimed good understanding of current patient access pathways and only 31% felt comfortable discussing MC with their patients. Some respondents (20%) cited adverse side effects as a reason for not wanting to prescribe, with driving impairment (64%) and impacts on the developing brain (56%) cited as significant concerns. Nonetheless, MC was ranked as less hazardous than corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and biologics by most respondents, and many (53%) were encouraging of patient participation in future clinical trials.

Chief Investigator: Professor Iain McGregor (The Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

Project Coordinator: Doctor Melissa Benson (The Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

Collaborators: Associate Professor Susan Connor (Liverpool Hospital) and Doctor Crispin Corte (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital)

 

Publication: https://academic.oup.com/crohnscolitis360/article/2/2/otaa015/5821009

A nationwide online survey was conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics to examine the attitudes and experiences of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) towards medicinal cannabis.

The survey examined IBD severity, medication adherence, quality of life, as well as medicinal cannabis use and its perceived impact on these measures. The survey expanded on previous surveys by accessing a larger patient population. It also allowed separation of and insights into different IBD subgroups – Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or “IBD unclassified”; and different cannabis use populations – non-user, previous user and current self-prescribed medicinal cannabis users.

Results: The survey revealed that that 25.3 percent of the 838 respondents were using or had previously used medicinal cannabis to manage their symptoms However only t1.4 percent of users were using the legal pathways provided by the Australian government to source their medicinal cannabis. More than 90 percent of patients reported that medicinal cannabis use improved their symptom management – with greatest benefits reported for abdominal pain, stress, sleep, cramping and anxiety symptoms and less so for symptoms associated with disease pathology. Both cannabis-using and non-using patients expressed high levels of support for the use of medicinal cannabis in IBD and interest in participating in future clinical trials of medicinal cannabis products.

Chief Investigator: Professor Iain McGregor (The Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

Project Coordinator: Doctor Melissa Benson (The Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

Collaborators: Associate Professor Susan Connor (Liverpool Hospital) and Doctor Crispin Corte (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital)

Publication: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/7/e022101

A cross-sectional survey completed by 640 Australian General Practioners attending multiple-topic educational seminars in five major Australian cities between August and November 2017 was undertaken to assess the knowledge and attitudes of these clinicians toward medicinal cannabis.

Results: The majority of GPs (61.5%) reported one or more patient enquiries about medicinal cannabis in the past three months. Most felt that their own knowledge was inadequate and only 28.8% felt comfortable discussing medicinal cannabis with patients. Over half (56.5%) supported availability on prescription, with the preferred access model involving trained GPs prescribing independently of specialists. Support for use of medical cannabis was condition-specific, with strong support for use in cancer pain, palliative care and epilepsy, and much lower support for use in depression and anxiety.

This was a collaboration between The Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney and HealthEd.

Chief Investigator: Professor Iain McGregor (Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

Project Coordinator: Dr Emily Karanges & Anastasia Suraev (Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

Publication: https://www.epilepsybehavior.com/article/S1525-5050(17)30073-2/fulltext

An online survey was developed by Epilepsy Action Australia (EAA), consisting of 39 questions that measured demographic factors, clinical factors (such as diagnosis and seizure types), past treatment history for epilepsy, and experiences and opinions of cannabis use in epilepsy. Results were analysed, interpreted and written up for publication with assistance from Lambert Initiative researchers.

Results: The survey was answered by 976 Australians with epilepsy. It found that 14 percent of people with epilepsy have used cannabis products as a way to manage their seizures. Of these, 90 percent of adults with epilepsy and 71 percent of parents or guardians of children with epilepsy, reported success in seizure management.

This is a collaboration between The Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney and Epilepsy Action Australia.

Chief Investigator: Professor Iain McGregor (Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

Project Coordinator: Anastasia Suraev (The Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)

Publication: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.5694/mja17.01247

The CAMS (Cannabis As Medicine Survey) is the first large scale survey of medicinal cannabis users in Australia for more than a decade. The objective of this survey is to create a national snapshot of the demographics of medical cannabis consumers, the conditions being treated, patterns of cannabis use, perceived efficacy, and the physical and mental health of consumers.

In 2016, the CAMS study surveyed 1,749 Australians who reported using cannabis for medicinal purposes.

Results: Results indicated that the primary conditions being treated included anxiety (50.2%), back pain (49.4%), depression (48.8%), and sleep conditions (43%). Inhaled route was the most common routes of administration. A third of patients spent $0-$50 on cannabis, suggesting a sizeable proportion of home grown supply. Respondents self-reported overwhelmingly positive changes in the primary health condition being treated as a result of cannabis use, with more than 90 percent of respondents reporting an improvement.

This was a collaboration between The Lambert Initiative at the University of Sydney and South East Sydney Local Health District.

Chief Investigator: Professor Nick Lintzeris (South East Sydney Local Health District)

Project Coordinator: Associate Professor David Allsop (The Lambert Initiative, University of Sydney)