'There are also risks' – specialist says medicinal cannabis not a wonder drug

Campaigners for medicinal cannabis recently celebrated a win, with the government making the drug more accessible.

Those on the other side of the debate say there can be harmful effects for some users. Source: Breakfast

But those on the other side of the debate say it's not a wonder drug, and just because using it may make people feel better, that's not a reason for it to be prescribed. 

Medical specialist Dr Stephen Childs said it was important to know both the risks and the benefits of medicinal cannabis.

"In a few conditions it has been found to be a benefit, but there are also risks."

He said among the risk factors were increased mental health, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, heart attacks, strokes and respiratory illnesses. 

Dr Childs said in some, but not all cases it is "very effective".

"There are things we can derive from the marijuana plant that probably will be a benefit."

But he said the current laws around the controlled medication enabled factors like addiction to be taken into account. 

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced recently he is lifting a restriction on the use of medicinal cannabis, meaning doctors will be able to prescribe it.