First case of Cannabis Arteritis in Australia

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6 May 2016

The first Australian case of the rare condition Cannabis Arteritis has been diagnosed and treated when a 26-year-old male presented to a doctor with lower limb ischaemia, surgeons meeting in Brisbane for their Annual Scientific Congress (ASC) were told.

Cannabis Arteritis is a condition caused by long term daily cannabis use that results in lesions growing on arteries. While it is a rare condition, it can culminate in lower limb amputation.

The detail of the condition was presented by Dr David Soon at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) convention running in Brisbane this week.

Further investigations revealed a stenosis in the superficial femoral artery. The patient was successfully treated with balloon angioplasty and commenced life-long aspirin.

A systematic review was undertaken to determine details on the condition. It was found that prevalence is higher among the male population, and the majority presented with necrotic wounds on their toes.

"Although this is a rare condition, this illness should be known and made aware to physicians around the Australia," Dr Soon said.

"One important observation from these cases is that the patient has better prognosis upon cessation of cannabis consumption."

"Due to the increase in cannabis usage and the legalisation of medicinal cannabis, awareness of this condition is important and may become a growing problem in the future."

More than a thousand surgeons from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons as well as international surgeons from the Royal College of Surgeons of England are gathering at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre this week for a series of workshops, discussions, plenaries and masterclasses across a broad range of surgical issues.

The conference brings together some of the country's leading medical and surgical minds, this year focusing on the theme of surgery, technology and communication.

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