New South Wales Medicinal Cannabis Trial Expands

Medicinal cannabis capsules trial - Australia
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Seven more hospitals will join a trial in the Australian state of New South Wales examining the potential of medicinal cannabis in addressing nausea experienced by chemotherapy patients.

The trial sees participating patients administered medicine in capsule form that contains 2.5mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 2.5mg of cannabidiol (CBD), developed by a Canadian pharmaceutical company.

The additional hospitals to participate in the trial are:

  • Calvary Mater Newcastle
  • Campbelltown
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Concord
  • Port Macquarie Base
  • Royal North Shore

The trial, led by Associate Professor Peter Grimison from Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Camperdown, will run over 12 months and involve approximately 80 patients. If results are promising, then a double-blinded randomised controlled trial with 250 patients will occur. The more extensive trial could take “a number of years“.

There is already a significant amount of evidence cannabis is useful in treating chemotherapy related nausea.

For example, a review of evidence published earlier this year in the Israel Medical Association Journal indicated:

“Favorable outcomes are demonstrated for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and cancer-related pain, with evidence of advantageous neurological interactions.”

However, it also advised further research is necessary before cannabis can become a part of evidence-based oncology practice.

For chemo patients in New South Wales who aren’t part of the trial, waiting years for treatments to become available really isn’t viable. Approximately a third of chemotherapy patients do not gain complete relief from their symptoms from conventional therapies.

“Meanwhile, we are working closely with the Commonwealth to continue to support doctors wanting to prescribe appropriate medical cannabis products,” said Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

“A number of cannabis products have recently been imported from overseas in the hope of helping some of our sickest patients, removing a major barrier to accessing medical cannabis.”

Other trials in New South Wales include one for terminally ill cancer patients involving vaping and another for a small group of children from the state’s New England region suffering severe drug-resistant epilepsy. The children are being administered Epidiolex, a medicine based on cannabidiol.

Further information regarding the New South Wales trials can be viewed here.