Australia To Prescribe Cannabis To Epileptics And MS Patients

Queensland, Australia to trial prescribing cannabis to MS sufferers and epileptic patients

Queensland children with multiple sclerosis or epilepsy will be able to access cannabis as Australia trial the use of medical marijuana in treating these conditions. 

The $3 million cannabis trials will begin at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital from 2016 onwards. reports:

The trial will help determine whether medicinal cannabis is suitable as a treatment.

“This is about helping sick Queensland kids,” Ms Palaszczuk said in a statement.

“We are listening to Queenslanders, particularly the families of children with severe forms of epilepsy who have exhausted other forms of treatment.”

NSW announced earlier this week it would move into the trial stage in 2016.

But Health Minister Cameron Dick said Queensland would also move to change legislation to allow for the use of Sativex, a pharmaceutical medicinal cannabis spray, which can help ease multiple sclerosis symptoms in adults.

The spray can help alleviate severe spasticity, a painful symptom in multiple sclerosis patients, which causes muscles to spasm and lock.

The chronic central nervous system disease affects more than 3700 Queenslanders.

Sativex has been legal in Australia for three years, but required changes to state legislation for it to be legitimately used in Queensland.

Mr Dick said he would move to make the necessary changes to the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulations 1996 early next year, so neurologists could begin prescribing it to adult patients.

“Multiple sclerosis is unpredictable and progressive,” he said.

“There’s no cure and we need to do everything we can to treat the symptoms.”

Australia’s attitude towards medicinal marijuana has changed in recent months, to where all the eastern seaboard states have made moves to trial it on the path to legalisation.

Victoria announced it would legalise access to medicinal cannabis products from 2017, while NSW will spend up to $9 million for its trials.

Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley announced earlier this month that the Commonwealth would legalise the growing of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

The move towards legalisation, coming on the back of half of US states legalising the drug, came after intense lobbying from the families of chronically sick people, sharing stories of intense pain they believe could be alleviated through regulated use of the drug.

Both Multiple Sclerosis Queensland and Epilepsy Queensland had been calling for the drug to be available as an additional treatment resource for sufferers.