Cannatrek innovates with plant-based therapy for chronic pain
Agri-tech company Cannatrek is leading the way on plant-based therapy as a treatment option for millions of Australians living with chronic pain.
Backed by medicinal licenses, Cannatrek is working with stakeholders within the Government’s regulatory framework, committed to reducing chronic pain for eligible patients, with one in five Australians living with the condition.
For millions among us, chronic pain is an everyday reality that extends beyond physical suffering. Chronic pain can affect mobility, sleep and mental health. On a macro level, chronic pain is a national public health challenge impacting productivity with costs totalling billions of dollars annually.
Recognising this domestic burden, in 2010, the Federal Government led the way globally making Australia the first country in the world to develop a national framework for pain. Within this context companies like Cannatrek are fast-evolving, researching and innovating plant-based therapies as viable treatment options to support Australians living with pain.
Symptoms and causes of chronic pain
Even though chronic pain is a common condition affecting 3.4 million Australians, it is also complex. Defined as enduring pain which lasts for three months or longer, chronic pain is often caused by injury or illness, but this is not always the case. Chronic pain can also be experienced in different ways: it can be sharp, dull, burning or aching, and may be steady or intermittent.
Some of the more common types of chronic pain include: headaches, postsurgical pain, post-trauma pain, lower back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, pain caused by nerve damage (neurogenic pain), and pain caused by disease, injury, or nerve damage (psychogenic pain). People living with long-lasting pain should seek medical attention.
While chronic pain is often caused by injury, in some cases it manifests without prior injury resulting from an underlying health issue. These include chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, interstitial cystitis and temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ).
Australia’s chronic pain landscape
Because pain can interfere with a person’s daily functioning, to stop the pain, sufferers can become drug-dependent and may resort to repeated surgeries or attempt desperate measures.
Beyond physical suffering, chronic pain can affect mobility, mood and sleep, and create anxiety, anger and fear of repeating the injury, as well as economic and social exclusion. All this further compounds a person’s wellbeing.
On a national level, the annual cost of pain in Australia was estimated at $139.3 billion in 2018, predicted to increase to $215.6 billion by 2050 without a planned change in federal policy. This means that “Addressing pain is in the interest of all Australians” – as stated in the Federal Government’s 2021 National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management.
The Action Plan also revealed that up to 80 per cent of Australians are unable to access pain treatment, specialists and clinics, with low awareness of pain and treatment options among health practitioners and patients. A reliance on pain medication, opioid over-dependence and accidental overdosing also exists.
Cultivating the way forward
To keep pain medication risks to a minimum, including dependency and side effects, today’s plant-based alternatives are part of a considered set of treatment options for chronic pain.
In a Painaustralia survey among 454 individuals and four organisations, 85 per cent of respondents supported the use of medicinal cannabis for the treatment of pain management, with respondents preferring to use medicinal cannabis over traditional medications. This study also noted that more support is needed for people in pain. Clinical trials are also ongoing.
The road ahead is promising for chronic pain patients, healthcare practitioners and innovators, with education and collaboration key. Tommy Huppert, Cannatrek CEO, speaks about the company’s focus on educating Australian doctors about the benefits and limitations of medicinal cannabis.
“We will continue to run education programs in Australia together with our partners,” Huppert said.
“This is all about raising the comfort factor among doctors and specialists in Australia, to make medicinal cannabis more mainstream and available to patients.”
Cannatrek’s commitment to making plant-based therapies understood, accessible and affordable for people living with pain empowers Australians to fully consider all treatment options available to offer relief, support and a better quality of life.