The challenges in providing safe, effective, affordable cannabis-based medicines for unapproved indications

Wayne D Hall and Michael Farrell
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (5): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00445
Published online: 3 September 2018

A cautious response to public interest in medical uses of cannabis products remains appropriate

Over the past 20 years or more, governments in many countries have struggled with how best to respond to the requests of patients, families and some doctors that they be allowed to use unapproved cannabis-based medicines to treat serious medical conditions that have failed to respond to conventional treatment.1 In Australia, parents of children with cancer or intractable forms of epilepsy have recently persuaded state and federal governments to permit access to cannabis-based products for medical use under the Special Access Scheme of the Therapeutic Goods Act.2

  • Wayne D Hall1,2
  • Michael Farrell3

  • 1 Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD
  • 2 National Addiction Centre, King's College London, London, United Kingdom
  • 3 National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

We have each advised the Therapeutic Goods Administration on the evidence of the safety and effectiveness of cannabinoids in the treatment of various illnesses. Wayne Hall is a member of the Australian Advisory Council on the Medicinal Uses of Cannabis.


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