It’s been a busy week on the Australian medicinal marijuana and hemp scene – topped off by two more important announcements in the last couple of days.
Earlier today, Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick said patients in the state may be able to gain access to medicinal marijuana before the end of the year if all goes well with a plan to be put before State Parliament in the coming weeks.
Over the border in New South Wales, the NSW Government has announced a trial for use of cannabis-derived medicines to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
The trial research team is being led by Clinical Associate Professor Peter Grimison from Chris O`Brien Lifehouse and the University of Sydney.
An oral cannabis-derived capsule containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) will be used during the trial; developed by Canadian company, Tilray.
The goal is for a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial to compare current best standard medication, supportive care and placebo with the cannabis medicine plus standard care.
Participants invited to join the trial, which still needs to be approved by an ethics committee, will be aged 18+, be undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, and have significant symptoms during their first cycle of chemotherapy. Each participating patient will undergo the trial for up to three cycles of chemotherapy (up to nine weeks).
Further details will be made available as the trial commencement date approaches; but at this point in time it is hoped the trial can commence enrolling patients in mid-2016.
The program is part of the New South Wales Government’s $9 million investment in cannabis clinical trials, with an additional $12 million being invested in the NSW Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation.
Also in New South Wales last week, the NSW Legislative Council voted to adopt a motion to pressure the state Government to knuckle down and work with other Australian governments to lift a ban on hemp food products.
The biggest news of the past seven days was on Tuesday, when legislation was passed to enable the “safe, legal and reliable” supply of medicinal marijuana products in Australia; a move that was generally applauded.