The cannabis information helpline: assessing interest in the medicinal use of cannabis in Australia

Peter Gates, Lucy Albertella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The majority of Australians support a change in legislation to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Despite strong public support, very little is known about the patterns of medicinal cannabis use among Australians. Objectives: This study aims to gain a better understanding of Australian medicinal cannabis users and their patterns of use. Methods: The nature of calls to the Cannabis Information and Helpline (N = 15701), a free national service for Australians with concerns regarding cannabis use, were investigated to determine the number of calls made by those who inquired about the medicinal use of cannabis (N = 275) and the implied reasons for use among those who identify using cannabis in this way. Results: The majority of medicinal cannabis inquirers mentioned cannabis to alleviate pain. Further, compared to other callers, medicinal cannabis inquirers were more likely to be male, unemployed, older, and have recently started using cannabis. Conclusions: These findings highlight the need for future research to better understand the issues faced by Australians regarding the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and how they may be meaningfully addressed. Particular focus should be placed toward older, unemployed males.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1634-1638
Number of pages5
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • cannabis use
  • medicinal
  • telehealth
  • telephone counseling
  • helplines


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