Australia moves to certify medical cannabis

Australian cancer patients will soon be able to access medical cannabis for pain relief after authorities continue strides allowing for the drug to be legalised.


A cannabis-derived capsule will be made available to 300 cancer suffers in New South Wales state who have not responded to traditional anti-nausea and vomiting treatments while undergoing chemotherapy, in the third stage of the state’s clinical trials.

“Medicinal cannabis has the potential to be of incredible benefit to many and our clinical trials will help us provide relief to those suffering from a range of serious illnesses,” New South Wales premier Mike Baird said in a statement on Friday.

The New South Wales (NSW) state trial will use a cannabis- derived tablet manufactured by Canadian company Tilray, as it would be too long for an Australian manufacturer to get up to speed.

It was only on Wednesday that Australia’s federal parliament passed legislation making it legal for cannabis to be cultivated for medical and scientific purposes.

“This is the missing piece in a patient’s treatment journey and will now see seamless access to locally-produced cannabis products from farm to pharmacy,” Australian Health Minister Susan Ley said in a statement following the bill’s passing on Wednesday.

“Under this scheme, a patient with a valid prescription can possess and use a medicinal cannabis product manufactured from cannabis plants legally cultivated in Australia.”

Australian companies are already seeing the business potential following the passing of legislation, highlighted by Perth-based medical cannabis company AusCann looking to plant its first trials of industrial-grade hemp on Christmas Island within coming months.

Products such as cannabis oil are used in the treatment of nausea during chemotherapy, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis epilepsy and other neurological conditions in the United States, however there has been no provision in Australia for similar access.

It’s understood that a medical cannabis regulator will be established in Australia within the next eight months, issuing licences to growers who conform to strict conditions, including a “fit and proper person” test in a bid to keep criminal elements out of the burgeoning industry.


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