Promoted by the Portuguese Association of General and Family Medicine (APMGF), the meeting to take place today in online format, with the theme "Cannabinoids in chronic pain - myths, facts and therapeutic options", is aimed at family doctors.
“Cannabinoids for medicinal purposes is a novelty in Portugal and, therefore, it is expected that this will be the first of several events aimed at disseminating the indications, risks and benefits” of these cannabis derivatives, Hugo Cordeiro told Lusa, a physician at Santa Casa da Misericórdia do Porto and member of the Pain Study Group at APMGF.
At this time, he explained, “the greatest applicability of this type of product is in cases of patients who do not tolerate the necessary doses of other types of medication or those who are not controlled, despite the use of the maximum doses of this type of medication”.
“Some studies show that cannabinoids even make it possible to reduce the doses of other types of substances that also have important side effects and at the same time improve the quality of life” of users, he stressed.
Asked if there are still barriers to taking this substance, the doctor said that, at this stage, “the biggest barriers” will be on the part of health professionals due to “ignorance” or “little disclosure”.
“What we see on the ground is that patients and family members are already starting to be curious, and are often the first to ask health professionals about the possibility of using this type of substance”, said Hugo Cordeiro.
For the coordinator of the Pain Study Group at APMG, Raul Marques Pereira, “the biggest” limitation to the use of this substance will be the price, despite having some reimbursement.
Regarding the advantages of its use, Raul Marques Pereira stated that “the drug has already been proven abroad”, so there is “a lot of safety” in its use.
In his opinion, “it would be important to be able to use it more”, which involves clarifying the doctors about doubts that may exist and the best clinical situations to use it in refractory pain.
In Portugal, one in three adults has chronic pain. “Of course not everyone will need cannabinoids, but there is a percentage that will need it”, said Raul Marques Pereira.
As it is a “very wide” group of patients who can benefit from this type of therapy, “it is very important” to expose and discuss this therapy together, he said.
For doctor Hugo Cordeiro, the most important thing will be to demystify the dangers associated with these substances: “Be aware that these are products that have been the subject of an extensive safety and quality study and will continue to be so after their introduction on the market and even are associated with fewer side effects than some of the substances that are already in use today”.