Cultivation of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes needs considered management before it is rolled out as a therapeutic good
Since the publication in the Journal last year of a perspective on cannabis that stated: “Australia is behind the times on the medicinal use of cannabis”,1 there appears to have been a palpable change in community attitudes around cannabis as medicine.2-4 This has occurred alongside anecdotal reports from people with intractable illnesses who have had symptomatic benefit with cannabis.5 Palliative care specialists have acknowledged a potential role for medicinal cannabis in their specialty.6 Internationally, the scene is also changing. For example, the Netherlands Office of Medicinal Cannabis enables dispensation through pharmacies after purchase from a contracted company, which also exports to other European countries.7 In the United States, 23 states and Washington, DC, have legalised marijuana in some form, mostly for medicinal purposes, since June 2015.8
- 1. Pennington DG. Medical cannabis: time for clear thinking. Med J Aust 2015; 202: 74-75. <MJA full text>
- 2. NSW election 2015. Medical marijuana has widespread support from Vote Compass users. Australian Broadcasting Commission. News. 2015; 16 Mar. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03..medical-marijuana-cannabis/6314758 (accessed Apr 2016).
- 3. Wordsworth M. Queensland election 2015: Majority of Queenslanders support medical marijuana, Vote Compass finds. Australian Broadcasting Commission. News. 2015; 29 Jan. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-28/..medical-marijuana../6049724 (accessed Apr 2016).
- 4. Public Health Association of Australia: policy-at-a-glance. Medicinal cannabis in Australia. Canberra: PHAA, 2015. http://www.phaa.net.au/documents/item/885 (accessed Apr 2016).
- 5. Feller J. Lucy Haslam's plan to supply medicinal cannabis unchanged by legalisation proposal. Australian Broadcasting Commission. News. Australian Story. 2015; 19 Oct http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-19/campaigners-plan-to-supply-medical-cannabis-unchanged/6863816 (accessed Apr 2016).
- 6. Palliative Care Australia. Submission to Regulator of Medicinal Cannabis Bill 2014. Canberra: PCA, 2015. http://palliativecare.org.au/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/2015/08/PCA-submission-to-Regulator-of-Medicinal-Cannabis-Bill-2014.pdf (accessed Apr 2016).
- 7. Hazekamp A, Heerdink E. The prevalence and incidence of medicinal cannabis on prescription in The Netherlands. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 2013; 69: 1575-1580.
- 8. Governing. State marijuana laws map. Washington DC: Governing, 2015; 19 Jun. http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html (accessed Apr 2016).
- 9. New South Wales Government. Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme. http://www.nsw.gov.au/tics (accessed Apr 2016).
- 10. New South Wales Government Health. Clinical trials: medical use of cannabis. http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/cannabis/Documents/fs-cannabis-trials.pdf (accessed Apr 2016).
- 11. Victoria State Government. health.vic. Medicinal cannabis https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/medicinal-cannabis (accessed Apr 2016).
- 12. The Hon Sussan Ley MP. Media hub. Historic medicinal cannabis legislation passes Parliament. 2016; 24 Feb. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2016-ley013.htm (accessed Apr 2016).
- 13. Australian Government. Department of Health. Therapeutic Goods Administration. How therapeutic goods are regulated in Australia. http://www.tga.gov.au/how-therapeutic-goods-are-regulated-australia (accessed Apr 2016).
- 14. Australia’s first medical cannabis study announced at Newcastle hospital. Australian Broadcasting Commission. News. 2015; 27 Jul. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-27/nation-first-cannabis-study-announced-at-newcastle-hospital/6650832 (accessed Apr 2016).
- 15. Reuter SE, Martin JH. Pharmacokinetics of cannabis in cancer cachexia-anorexia syndrome. Clin Pharmacokinetics 2016; Feb 16 doi:10.1007/s40262-015-0363-2 [Epub ahead of print].
- 16. Karschner E, Darwin W, Goodwin R, et al. Plasma cannabinoid pharmacokinetics following controlled oral delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol and oromucosal cannabis extract administration. Clin Chem 2011; 57: 66-75.
- 17. Whiting PF, Wolff RF, Deshpande S, et al. Cannabinoids for medical use: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA 2015; 313: 2456-2473.
- 18. Vandrey R, Raber JC, Raber ME, et al. Cannabinoid dose and label accuracy in edible medical cannabis products. JAMA 2015; 313: 2491-2493.
- 19. Cook J, Lloyd-Jones D, Ogden E, Bonomo Y. Medical use of cannabis: an addiction medicine perspective. Intern Med J 2015; 45: 677-680.
- 20. Roxburgh A, Bruno R, Larance B, Burns L. Prescription of opioid analgesics and related harms in Australia. Med J Aust 2011; 195: 280-284. <MJA full text>
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