Medicinal cannabis will become legal, but strictly controlled from November this year, under a formal decision reached by the Therapeutic Goods Administration this week.
The final decision was published on Wednesday, paving the way for the drug to be legalised for medicinal use, as the federal government works towards creating a national regulator.
Clinical trials have shown moderate quality evidence the substance can help treat chronic pain and spasticity and potentially reduce chemotherapy-related nausea.
But it could still be some time before a fully functioning system was in place to ensure patients could access cannabis and cannabis-related drugs to ease their suffering.
And you would have to ask why this should be.
As we have previously reported, hemp oil extracts (CBD fraction) are of no major consequence in terms of toxicity, addiction and psychoactivity, being at the lower end of the scale in toxicity, no ability to cause addictions and you will not test positive for any psychoactivity – because there is none.
Low concentrations of the THC fraction have a similar story, but with increased dose there is a potential for toxic symptoms, addiction and psychoactivity.
Australia and New Zealand are now the only countries in the entire world where hemp (CBD) is banned and not treated as a food as it surely is.
It should not rate as an S8 substance – S3 under pharmacist control would be more than adequate.
Moderate strength THC really only warrants being S4 while high dose THC is the only fraction that needs to be controlled under S8.
Campaigners and patients waiting to obtain medicinal cannabis legally are in a “holding pattern” while the regulatory system is being set up.
It is both slow and unnecessarily onerous so Australians will have to suffer while the system adjusts.
There is also concern that the proposed legal cannabis industry could be “so bound up in red tape” that may it not be viable and that the industry will become so expensive that patients won’t be able to access a legal supply at an affordable price.
Plus there is a lot of work to do on educating people and doctors, some of whom remain a bit uncomfortable about prescribing medical cannabis to patients.
However, there does not seem to be any discomfort about prescribing oxycodone and other morphine-type analgesics in overdose and causing high death rates!
Medical marijuana is much less toxic and wherever it has been appropriately introduced, it has reduced addiction and reduced the death toll from opioids.
The final decision comes after Federal Parliament this year lent bipartisan support to changes to the Narcotic Drugs Act to allow cannabis to be legally grown and produced in Australia for medicinal purposes, as part of a national scheme.
While non-medicinal cannabis will still be illegal, similar products for therapeutic use will be listed on the Schedule 8 list – for restricted drugs including morphine –provided the drugs were obtained by prescription from a doctor under state or territory laws, and it was to be used for therapeutic purposes.
As i2P has previously reported, the illegal supply of medical marijuana has been churning along at a great rate, with suppliers seeing a different demographic in the past 24 months, as the average user is grey-haired, can be found in the local church on Sunday (because they now have pain-free mobility) and looks very much like the senior citizen patient that frequents your pharmacy.
And the product from this alternate source is cheap, and is manufactured by qualified industrial chemists.
The product information that is provided is both detailed and understandable – with quality that may be better than average pharmacy delivery.
These are all satisfied customers, and they are all trying to educate their own GP’s to get onside and source a suitable product through the medical system.
Unfortunately they are not having a great deal of success as most GP’s are uncomfortable and fear they will have a range of “drop kicks” breaking down their doors and altering their patient mix.
Nothing could be so totally different to this vision – and it is simply because professional people are not getting off their backsides to help their patients while they rave on about patient-centredness and patient homes!
They don’t seem to have a very useful vision of what these concepts are.