Cannabis can help the pain but not any time soon it seems. Australian overview..
Posted on August 28, 2014 | By Henry | Leave a response
Can help: Medicinal marijuana can be useful for treating pain, according to a report published by the Australian National Council on Drugs. Photo: Gary Malerba
Pharmaceutical cannabis works for pain and nausea, but it may take ‘‘a significant length of time’’ to be sold for those purposes in Australia, if it is sold at all, Australia’s peak drug advisory body says.
An Australian National Council on Drugs report on medicinal cannabis published on Monday said research suggested a number of cannabis pharmaceuticals could treat pain, as well as treating spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and weight loss in people with HIV, advanced cancer and anorexia.
The analysis comes amid growing calls for medicinal cannabis to be legalised in Australia.
Premier Mike Baird has given conditional support for a private members’ bill due to be introduced to Parliament by Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, that would legalise cannabis for the terminally ill.
Victorian Opposition leader Daniel Andrews said on Sunday, that if he were elected in November he would ask the Victorian Law Reform Commission to report on how the prescription manufacture and distribution of medical cannabis could be legalised.
But the council report highlighted that while pharmaceutical companies could continue to apply for cannabis products to be used for particular conditions, approval takes a ‘‘significant length of time’’ and Australia’s small market for such products may not offer sufficient incentive to manufacturers.
While three medical cannabis products had been developed, only one of them – Sativex – had been approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia to treat multiple sclerosis. Some Australian cancer patients are also part of a global trial of Sativex to see if it relieves difficult-to-treat cancer pain. The trial is expected to continue for another year.
Australian National Council on Drugs chairman John Herron said as a medical practitioner he was concerned the evidence for medicinal cannabis remained weak.