Pandemic buy-local trend helping drive medicinal cannabis demand, producer says

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An Australian medical cannabis company says the rise of the buy-local movement during COVID-19 driven has up demand for locally produced cannabinoid products.

Little Green Pharma (LGP) is based at a secret location in WA’s South West and has experienced a boom in sales since the pandemic began.

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Chief operating officer Paul Long said the trend was being driven by a range of social and economic factors stemming from the health crisis and not necessarily by a spike in patient numbers.

“I think COVID has put pressure on supply chains, so companies that have been importing products from outside Australia, and particularly from Canada … have seen some challenges, with some outages of product,” he said.

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“Since we started in August 2018 we’ve had just over 6,500 patients, but in the last three months alone we’ve seen 1,300 new patients.”

Little Green Pharma COO Paul Long at the facility in July 2020.
Paul Long says his company will mainly focus on the domestic market.(ABC Rural: Jessica Hayes)

Demand for cannabis products had been growing exponentially before the health crisis, Mr Long said.

LGP was predominantly focused on the potential of the domestic market, despite export prospects ramping up in Europe, including the UK and Germany, he said.

“Expert reports show that medicinal cannabis products get to about 1 to 2 per cent of the population, so if you look at total numbers in Australia, we’ve got a long way to go in that growth, which is exciting for the industry as a whole.”

‘Behind on use but catching up’

Matty Moore has been prescribing medicinal cannabis for about 12 months.

While legally restricted from discussing the benefits of medicinal cannabis products for his patients, he said he had been prescribing more than ever.

He said conditions he treated using the medicine included chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, cancer pain and insomnia, with patients mostly aged 60 and over.

Dr Matty Moore at his practice in Dunsborough, WA in August 2020.
Matty Moore prescribes medicinal cannabis for…

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