Mental health, addiction and medical cannabis – an expert’s insight

Mental health, addiction and medical cannabis – an expert’s insight
Cannabis Health News

The recently-appointed medical director of The Medical Cannabis Clinics, Dr Luisa Searle, shares how her background in psychiatry and addiction is feeding into her new role.  Dr Luisa Searle has been treating patients with addiction disorders for the last six years, seeing patients struggling with substance misuse and establishing outreach services for young people and the homeless across London.  Now, she is helping people legally access cannabis, a substance that has historically been demonised as a ‘gateway drug’.  Feeling burnt out and craving a fresh new challenge, Dr Searle was looking for a change in her career when she crossed paths with The Medical Cannabis Clinics, joining the team as medical director in April this year.  “It frustrates me, this division that there seems to be in mental health, whereby if you’ve got a substance misuse issue, you’re not worthy of mental health treatment,” Dr Searle told Cannabis Health.  “But actually, your mental health is often being self-medicated by substances and whether you agree with that or not, that’s how some people cope.” Prior to joining TMCC, Dr Searle was unaware that medical cannabis was beginning to be prescribed more widely. She was coming into the industry with a fresh perspective, and despite her background in addiction medicine, she said she had very little prejudice against cannabis.  “It didn’t make sense to me to not explore it,” Dr Searle said. Dr Luisa Searle, medical director at The Medical Cannabis Clinics A balanced approach “I’m not here to say it’s a wonder drug. I’m not here to say it doesn’t have its risks or side effects. It’s by no means suitable for everybody, but this idea that it’s a substance of abuse and not even [worth] researching as a potential medicine I think is, unfortunately, based in historical racism and hysteria, which…

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