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Australia - Medical Marijuana To Undergo Clinical Trials In Victoria

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The Victorian health minister, David Davis, has announced he will amend the law to allow clinical trials of medical cannabis, days after the opposition leader, Daniel Andrews, announced he would seek to legalise the drug if elected in November. On Sunday, Andrews announced Labor would seek advice from the Victorian Law Reform Commission on the prescription, manufacture and distribution of medical cannabis, though he ruled out legalising recreational use of the drug.

The announcement followed months of campaigning by Victorian families who have been pushing for the drug to be used medically, saying it has successfully treated their chronically ill children when other medicines have not. In July, Davis said the Coalition government had no plans to legalise the drug. But on Thursday the minister announced a panel of clinical and regulatory experts would be appointed to "work through the complex issues of obtaining approval to trial the use of cannabis compounds in treating a range of illnesses and conditions".

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act would be amended to make it easier to conduct clinical trials involving cannabis and similar highly regulated substances, he said. Consideration would also be given to removing the prohibition on growing narcotic plants for therapeutic purposes, but in the context of approved clinical trials.

"This is the right way forward," Davis said. "Simply declaring something legal doesn't make it safe. Our approach is grounded in the best available scientific evidence." A pharmaceutical-grade cannabis extract, marketed as Sativex and already approved by Australia's drug regulator to relieve symptoms of multiple sclerosis, would be investigated for treatment of pain in patients with advanced cancer, he said.

But a spokesman for the opposition health minister, Gavin Jennings, said Sativex was not recommended or designed for use by children. "Our announcement addressed the campaign led by families which has been running across who want access to a form of cannabis for their ill children, and that won't be captured under the government's policy," he said. "This announcement by the government will provide no relief for children."

Jennings said the government had been "caught on the back foot" by Labor's announcement. "This is panicked announcement from a government under pressure and out of touch." Davis said the Coalition would also give in-principle support to taking part in the international trial of a drug called Epidiolex, marketed for the treatment of certain chronic childhood epilepsy conditions and not yet approved for marketing in any country.

But Alex Wodak, president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, says neither policy approach was strong and that reform proposals should be left to medical experts and drug regulators. He said he suspected Davis had rushed through his proposal as a direct response to Andrews and described it as "disappointing".

"It's very limited," he said. "Allowing someone to grow plants for therapeutic purposes is very limiting and doesn't help someone in their 70s or 80s and dying of cancer. "If someone requires morphine for pain relief we don't tell them to grow a poppy plant and distil the opium out of it. So why are we doing it for cannabis?" He also criticised extending the use of Sativex, which is delivered in spray form directly into the mouth. "One of the groups wanting to use cannabis is chemotherapy patients suffering from nausea and vomiting and who are resistant to other treatments," he said.

"If you feel like vomiting, the last thing you want to do is spray something on the inside of your mouth." It was also only approved for treating symptoms in multiple sclerosis patients, he said, which would make doctors reluctant to prescribe it for other conditions. "I would much prefer the premier and leader of the opposition and the health minister and shadow health minister go into a quiet room and sort this issue out with a combined approach," Wodak said. "That doesn't happen often in politics but when it does, the results can be magical."



News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Theguardian.com
Author: Melissa Davey
Contact: Contact Us
Website: Medical marijuana to undergo clinical trials in Victoria | Society | theguardian.com
 
Comparing a patient growing a cannabis plant for medicinal purposes to a patient growing a poppy plant for medicinal purposes just goes to prove how incredibly brain dead Australian politicians are...... It is clear to see the degree of brainwashing that keeps our politicians lurking in ignorance on the issue of cannabis as they continue to draw on the diluted disinformation that stems from the old reefer madness propaganda of the nineteen thirties. It is also frustrating to hear them year after year call for more research (that they never conduct) to look into the efficacy of cannabis as a medicine even though the USA has had medicinal cannabis since nineteen ninety six.... with tons of research papers they could read (but they won't) Either they are total morons (our politicians) or they are being manipulated by big pharma to protect a potential future pharmaceutical monopoly over medicinal cannabis as soon as they can iron out the legislation to approve it for pharmaceutical distribution only. IF only the cannabis plant was the national flower of Israel then we could sue the government for anti-Semitism and win..... (lol)
 
I am talking about the "tons" of real studies documented by real people with health related issues going back to at least 1996 when medicinal cannabis first became legalized. I believe it was Dr Grinspoon who was quoted as saying that anecdotal patient studies are far more useful than any double blind study... conducted with government funding.. especially given the corrupt nature between the American politicians and the pharmaceutical/medical associations and the unreal amounts of money spent to lobby said politicians.
But of course, as I said and alluded to, average politicians would be too moronic to accept anecdotal evidence as they are so indoctrinated into the officialdom of the system in which they exist to be able to accept let alone even read anything that doesn't have the "official" seal of approval stamped upon it.
Anyone who is waiting for official government funded studies to prove that cannabis has health related benefits for the world to read, especially a U.S. federally funded study, may just as well to take a deep breath and hold it just prior to cramming their heads up their own backsides and waiting patiently. (as most Politicians think that a lot of the reefer madness era propaganda is real...) With a little luck hell will freeze over, Ghandi and Jesus will make a grand reappearance and the US federal government will become a moral example and beacon of light, truth and honesty to lead the people just in time to prevent asphyxiation.
Of course there are some rare individuals in politics who have the courage to go outside the box. Cannabis lovers need to seek these ones out and give them more votes :)