Report of the Working Party on the Use of Cannabis for Medical Purposes.
The Honourable Bob Carr MP
Premier of New South Wales
Sydney, NSW 2000
As Chair of the Working Party on the Use of Cannabis for Medical Purposes I have pleasure in presenting the Final Report of the Working Party that you appointed in August 1999.
The Working party has reviewed the scientific evidence on the safety and efficacy of cannabis (the plant that is usually smoked) and cannabinoids (substances derived from those uniquely found in the cannabis plant, or those that act on the same brain receptors) used for medical purposes. It has also considered legal advice on the ways in which cannabis and cannabinoids may be made available for medical purposes that do not contravene International Drug Control Treaties to which Australia is a signatory.
In light of the evidence, the Working Party has agreed with the conclusions of the British House of Lords and the United States Institute of Medicine that some cannabinoid substances may have value in the treatment of a limited range of medical conditions, namely, HIV-related wasting, nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy, muscle spasm in some neurological disorders, and pain that is unrelieved by conventional analgesics. The Working Party has made recommendations on the type of research that is required to better assess the therapeutic value of cannabis and cannabinoid substances in these conditions.
The Working Party has concluded that crude cannabis cannot be prescribed and is unlikely to ever be prescribed in Australia. There are also substantial obstacles to the medical prescription of cannabinoid substances. At best it will be some years before any cannabinoid drugs are registered for medical use in Australia. Given evidence that patients with some of the conditions indicated are currently using smoked cannabis for therapeutic reasons, the Working Party has recommended a regime for limited compassionate provision of cannabis to patients who may benefit from its use.
This is as an interim measure until medical cannabinoids become available. It would allow limited medical exemptions to criminal prosecution to patients who have been certified as suffering from a restricted set of medical conditions by an approved medical practitioner who has also counselled them about the risks of smoking cannabis.
The Working Party hopes that this report will assist the Government and the Parliament in deciding how best to address the needs of patients who may benefit from the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoid drugs. We also trust that it will contribute to a more informed public debate on the medical uses of cannabis and cannabinoids in New South Wales.
Working Party on the Use of Cannabis for Medical Purposes
- Excerpts of related material.
The Medical Journal of Australia
We believe that the Working Party's recommendations balance the needs of patients with community concern about non-medical cannabis use in a way that deserves to be considered by all State and Territory governments.
Cancer Council NSW
Medical use of marijuana (cannabis) Fact Sheet
A report prepared in 1998 by the South Australian Drug and Alcohol Council for the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy concluded that the greatest potential for therapeutic use of cannabis lies in three areas:
- As an appetite-stimulant, used in conjunction with drugs with anabolic properties to promote lean body mass, good nutrition and exercise,
- The management of neuropathic pain, and
- The quick relief of nausea, such as associated with some cancer chemotherapy treatments.
PARLIAMENT OF NEW SOUTH WALES
Medical Cannabis Programs: A Review of Selected Jurisdictions
This briefing paper outlines the health benefits and detriments of cannabis use; summarises medical cannabis laws and programs operating in a range of overseas jurisdictions; and traces the development of a proposal to authorise the medical use of cannabis in New South Wales.
More references and a summary.
Greens proposed trial of medicinal cannabis in NSW.
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
HEMP Party NSW Branch